Plea bargain sought in case against electrician

2015-04-22 17:20

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Cape Town - Negotiations were progressing for plea bargain proceedings, involving an electrician who allegedly put in false claims for work done at two Western Cape schools, a Cape Town court heard on Wednesday.

Odwa Owen Nxuseka, 43, of the Mfuleni township on the Cape Flats, appeared in the Bellviile Specialised Commercial Crime Court, before Magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg.

Legal Aid lawyer Hayley Lawrence told the court she needed more time to complete negotiations with prosecutor Simone Liedeman, and at Lawrence’s request, the case was postponed to April 28.

Whereas ordinary criminal proceedings could drag on for weeks, if not months, plea-bargain proceedings take only an hour at the most to finalise.

All parties involved – the victim, police investigating officer, the prosecuting authorities, and the magistrate or judge – have to be satisfied that the sentence agreed upon is fair and just.

According to the charge sheet, the Western Cape education department appointed Nxuseka’s business, Ono Electrical and Maintenance Service, to do emergency repairs at the Disa Primary School in Bishop Lavis, on the Cape Flats, where Andrew James is the principal,  and at the Elswood Secondary School at Elsies River, where Terrence Hillburgh was the principal at the time.

Although Nxuseka started the work at both schools, between May and July 2012, the State alleges that he failed to complete the jobs.

However, he forged the respective principals’ signatures on each invoice, and submitted the invoices to the education department for payment.

The forged signatures, together with the respective school’s date stamp on each invoice, gave the false impression that the work had been completed satisfactorily, the prosecutor said.

As a result, the education department authorised payment of R80 000 for the work “completed” at Elswood, and R136 278 for the work "completed" at Dias.

Nxuseka faces two counts of fraud, two of forgery and two of uttering (the presentation of) a forged document.

Read more on:    cape town  |  fraud  |  crime

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