Gold syndicate trial set to resume

2012-06-11 07:51
Bloemfontein - The trial of 18 syndicate members accused of being involved in illegal gold activities in three provinces - said to be managed by four brothers - would resume in the Free State High Court on Monday.

Judge Johann Daffue postponed the case last week Tuesday after one of the brothers, Sifelane, was apparently killed in a vehicle accident on Monday night.

The Msimango brothers, Sibusiso, 34, Sifelane, 44, Rise, 31, and McDonald, 28, face charges of racketeering, money laundering and theft.

The trial started last week Monday, but Judge Daffue postponed the matter to Tuesday to give the State and defence counsel a final opportunity to settle some aspects outside of court.

The accused - who include the wives of some of the brothers - face a total of 103 charges and the State was expected to call 194 witnesses.

On Tuesday, State prosecutor Danie Pretorius told the court that negotiations with the defence counsel for the group failed.

Warrants of arrest

Sifelane was reportedly was killed in a vehicle accident on Monday night, but Pretorius told the court the State did not yet have a death certificate.

Nevertheless, arrangements were being made for the remaining brothers to get their passports from the investigator for Sifelane's funeral in Zimbabwe.

Warrants of arrest were issued for Sifelane and his wife, also an accused. Sifelane's wife was not present at the court on Tuesday.

The warrants would be kept over until the next court appearance.

The State alleges the objectives of the syndicate were to procure, refine, sell and smuggle unwrought gold.

Proceeds, apparently running into millions of rand, were laundered into financial systems by means of buying vehicles, luxury items and property.
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