Malema defence: 10 days not enough

2013-06-21 12:55
Polokwane - Ten days will not be enough for the trial of fraud-accused Julius Malema and four others, the Polokwane Magistrate's Court heard on Friday.

Defence lawyer Michele Gioia said the November dates proposed by the State would be opposed.

There would not be sufficient time to deal with the 60 witnesses and over 11 000 pages of evidence that could be necessary at the trial, he told the court.

Gioia also claimed that the trial date was illegally communicated and that the defence was not consulted.

Malema is out on bail of R10 000 and faces charges of fraud, corruption, money-laundering, and racketeering.

His co-accused are his business associates Lesiba Gwangwa, Kagisho Dichabe, Helen Moreroa, and Makgetsi Manthata, who are out on bail of R40 000 each.

‘State wasting our time’

Prosecutor Billy Moalusi said it was the State's duty to determine the trial period, rather than the defence's.

Magistrate Mohamed Shaik gave the accused formal notice of the trial date, before the matter was adjourned to 14:00.

Earlier, Malema's counsel accused the State of employing delaying tactics.

"The State is playing with time, they are wasting our time," Tumi Mokoena told the court.

The State alleges Malema and the others misrepresented themselves to the Limpopo roads and transport department, leading to a R52m contract being awarded to On-Point Engineering.

According to court papers, Malema had business ties with Gwangwa, a director of On-Point Engineering. Malema's Ratanang Family Trust was an indirect shareholder in On-Point.

The department paid the company R43m. According to the charge sheet, Malema substantially benefited from this payment, knowing the money formed part of the proceeds of crime.

All five have proclaimed their innocence.

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