Former top Western Cape official in court on corruption charge

2015-06-17 20:46

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Cape Town - A former high-ranking official in the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, who allegedly abused his position to enrich himself, appeared in court in Cape Town on Wednesday.

Manfred Joseph, 54, appeared in the Specialised Commercial Crime Court in Bellville, together with co-accused Randall William Benjamin, 42, and Michael van Roodt, 46, before Magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg.

They are charged with corruption and fraud, and were warned to appear in court again on August 4.

Prosecutor Jacques Smith told the court that Van Roodt wanted free legal representation, and in fact qualified for Legal Aid.

However, the Legal Aid authorities had not yet appointed a suitably experienced attorney to replace Hayley Lawrence, a specialist in fraud matters, who resigned with immediate effect some weeks ago.

According to the charge sheet, the department set up the Siyadlala Community Mass Participation  Programme (SCMPP) in all nine of the country's provinces.

The purpose of the programme was to provide sustainable mass participation opportunities in a range of activities, aimed at promoting active life styles in all communities.

Joseph, a senior official in the department’s chief directorate, involved with sport and recreation, was appointed the manager responsible for overseeing the programme nationally.

The programme targeted disadvantaged communities, and rural areas, known as “hubs”.

According to the charge sheet, the Western Cape had 35 hubs, each with its own co-ordinator.

According to the charge sheet, Joseph’s duties included budget and cash flow control.

He had to meet regularly with the hub co-ordinators, and conduct site visits and inspections.

The prosecutor alleges that Joseph corruptly received payments from the various service providers.

The State also alleges that Benjamin and Van Roodt, as service providers, received payments for facilitating sporting events that did not take place.

The corruption is alleged to have happened between April 2008 and March 2009.

They face 12 counts of fraud, involving R1 056 000.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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