Priest's bribery, corruption trial postponed
Johannesburg - The trial of a 73-year-old priest accused of bribery and misusing education subsidies has been postponed, his lawyer said on Friday.
"He appeared in the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court today [Friday], and his case was postponed to the 23rd of November," attorney Cliff Alexander said.
Pastor Josias Mabaso was arrested in a sting operation on the East Rand on Wednesday when he allegedly tried to pay a bribe to prevent the disclosure of the alleged R20m corruption and fraud.
Alexander said Mabaso was released on R20 000 bail.
The trial was postponed because police said the matter needed further investigation.
Hawks spokesperson Colonel McIntosh Polela claimed that the priest initially offered to pay a bribe of R1.2m and then upped it to R7m.
At the time of his arrest, he was carrying R50 000.
Polela said the man received a substantial amount from the Gauteng education department to run two schools, one in the Ramaphosa informal settlement in Germiston and the other in Denver, south of Johannesburg.
On Friday, International Federation of Christian Churches president and Rhema Bible Church senior pastor Ray McCauley condemned Mabaso's actions.
"We distance ourselves from the pastor and [his] church. Such behaviour by members of the clergy undermines social responsibility projects, both potential and existing, between government and the church," he said.
"It is unthinkable that resources meant to improve the lot of our children can be misused in such a manner."