Ithala CEO and wife to appear in court today

2010-10-20 00:00

SUSPENDED Ithala Bank CEO Sipho Shabalala and his wife, Ntombi, are expected to hand themselves over to police investigators at the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court this morning.

Shabalala’s spokesperson, Vuyo Mkhize, confirmed yesterday that the couple will appear in court today.

Shabalala’s arrest has been on the cards since late August over his alleged involvement in the corrupt awarding of contracts in the provincial Health Department to Intaka Holdings. The contracts were for the supply of water purification and oxygen plants to hospitals at hugely inflated prices.

The controversial businessman was among numerous high-flyers targeted in a raid by the Asset Forfeiture Unit in August.

The raid was coupled with arrests in Cape Town, Durban and Pietermaritzburg in connection with allegations of procurement fraud, corruption and money laundering in the Health Department.

Former KZN Health Department head Busisiwe Nyembezi, chief financial officer for the KZN Legislature Alson Buthelezi and health official Victor Mduduzi Ntshangase appeared in the magistrate’s court on that occasion. They were granted bail of R50 000, R10 000 and R20 000 respectively.

Five other accused appeared in Cape Town, including prominent hotel owner Gaston Savoi and businessmen Fernando Praderi, Ansano Romani, Donald Miller and Ronald Geddes.

Their trial is expected to be transferred to Pietermaritzburg.

The Witness learned yesterday that Justice Minister Jeff Radebe is expected to attend today’s proceedings in Pietermaritzburg, when more accused are to be added to the charge sheet.

Advocate Sandile Kuboni — named as a joint shareholder in a number of Shabalala’s companies — is also believed to be on the Hawks’ wanted list.

Mkhize said last night, “I can confirm that the Shabalalas will be at the Pietermaritzburg court tomorrow. They are happy with the new development as it marks the beginning of a journey that will see the matter being resolved.

“They could not have been happy with the matter still in limbo.”

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