Moloi graft trial held off again

2012-06-19 00:00

THE trial of five people charged with corruption relating to a 2003 property deal involving uMgungundlovu District Municipality was postponed yesterday until March 11 next year.

The postponement was the result of confusion that came about after the prosecutor, Rema Mahabeer, resigned to enter private practice.

Advocate Bulelwa Vimbani and her colleague, Makhosi Mthembu, have now taken over the prosecution.

Regional court magistrate Jaco Jordaan was informed yesterday that one of the accused, former uMgungundlovu district councillor Themba Zungu, died recently.

A former accused, local estate agent Neville Watts, took his co-accused by surprise last year when he appeared secretly in a court in Durban and pleaded guilty.

He was fined R50 000 and given correctional supervision.

He is expected to testify for the prosecution in the case.

Still on trial are former Msunduzi deputy mayor Alpha Shelembe, his wife, Joyful Shelembe, and sister, Nelisiwe Shelembe, as well as KwaZulu-Natal businessman Lucky Moloi and former bodyguard Themba Xaba.

The accused are charged with having colluded to persuade the uMgungundlovu Municipality to buy the MIB building in Langalibalele (Longmarket) Street during 2003 at an inflated price of R6,85 million.

The state alleged that Watts, Zungu and Alpha Shelembe shared R1 million “commission” between them.

The other accused are alleged to have helped launder the money to conceal its origin.

The property was bought by the district municipality for office and parking space.

The trial has been set down for hearing from March 11 to 15 next year.

• ingrido@witness.co.za

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