Sars witnesses’ absence delays Thulani Sibuyi fraud trial

2014-09-10 18:13

Witnesses from the South African Revenue Service (Sars) were not available to testify today in the fraud trial of former Mpumalanga safety and security head of department, Thulani Sibuyi, and a security company boss.

Sibuyi and GNT Security owner, Stevens Mashaba, appeared in the Nelspruit Regional Court. Sibuyi approved the awarding of a security tender to GNT while the company allegedly did not have a valid tax clearance certificate.

The state prosecutor, Advocate Patrick Nkuna, told the court: “Sars officials who are the main witnesses are not available to testify. One was booked off for an operation and may not be available for six weeks while the other one is no longer working for Sars.”

The state called two witnesses – legal advisor in the safety and security department, Landiwe Nkosi, and director for supply chain in the provincial treasury department, Robert Masango.

It emerged that an intelligence report indicated that GNT did not have a clean credit record following a judgment against it in 2008, but Nkosi said that credit history was not an essential requirement to disqualify a company from being awarded the tender.

The State Security report did not say companies with a bad credit record must be disqualified. It warned that there might be problems in the future.

Magistrate Vanessa Joubert postponed the case to tomorrow. Sibuyi and Mashaba are out on R50 000 bail each.

The department awarded security services to 18 companies two years ago, but the prices increased from about R990 million over three years to about R7 billion.

Mpumalanga cabinet had to approve a R275 million bail-out for the department last year because of the security expense.

Mabuza has since dispatched support teams to safety and security, health and agriculture departments in order to assist them recover from their financial distress.

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