Last Travelgate accused faces conviction

2010-09-17 11:17

The last accused in the marathon parliamentary travel voucher fraud saga, travel agent Mpho Lebelo, is expected to be convicted next week.

This emerged at a pre-trial hearing in the Cape High Court today.

Prosecutor Razia Valli-Omar told Judge Elizabeth Baartman that prosecutors had been negotiating with Lebelo’s lawyer on a plea agreement.

The finalised document would be presented to Judge President John Hlophe for ratification on September 21, she said.

Lebelo, who lives in Bloemfontein, was not in court.

Baartman issued a warrant for her arrest, but ordered that it be held over until Lebelo’s next appearance.

Lebelo will be the last of some 30 travel agents and MPs to be convicted of fraud in the so-called Travelgate affair.

Earlier this year three other travel agents received plea agreement sentences of three years of correctional supervision, plus seven years’ jail conditionally suspended for five years.

The agents were charged with using vouchers meant only for MPs’ air travel to pay for the politicians’ accommodation and car rentals.

Most of the benefit of the fraud went to the MPs.

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