How Mabe walked free

2014-12-14 17:00

It took fewer than ten minutes for the State’s fraud case against ANC NEC member Pule Mabe and his co-accused to finally fall apart.

The case against Mabe, Kabedi Ramosa and former South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) communications manager Paseka Letsatsi started on Monday at Pretoria’s Specialised Commercial Crimes Court.

The state hoped to prove the trio had defrauded Sassa of R2.2 million which was meant for community projects.

But on Wednesday, the state’s star witness Mapetsana Magaoga buckled.

Magoaga, one of Mabe’s associates, set up the Consolidated Future Growth and Investment trust, which was used to make payments to people, and opened a slew of bank accounts.

When state prosecutor Dries van Rensburg asked Magoaga to name the person who’d instructed him to deposit the Sassa funds into other bank accounts, the witness named Mabe.

But a few minutes later Magoaga admitted during cross-examination by defence advocate Mike Hellens that he’d forged signatures on the trust and bank documents and lied about his qualifications.

Magoaga admitted he was a “liar and a crook” who pretended to be a chartered accountant, opened a “bogus” company called Hyperlinks Corporate Services in 2004 and practised as an accountant until 2007.

While shocked prosecutors looked on, Magoga told Hellens he saw nothing wrong with forging signatures as many other people had done the same for him.

Mabe’s lawyer Zola Majavu was up next, tearing into Special Investigating Unit (SIU) independent consultant Adriaan Prakke.

Prakke eventually conceded there was no evidence pointing to the trio.

On Thursday charges against the trio were dismissed.

Majavu told City Press that he was concerned that the state had pursued Mabe and co-accused without any evidence because Mabe was a “high profile figure”.

“The state only buries you with lots of unnecessary documents hoping you will make admissions on the stand. In this case as well there was no evidence to begin with and that was clear when they charged my client three years after Mabe purportedly defrauded the state and we told them we were ready to proceed but they were never ready to proceed,” said Majavu.

He said it was unfortunate that Mabe and co-accused will now have to spend more money applying to the high court to have their assets worth R2.2 million, seized in September 2014, returned.

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