KZN duo’s corruption trial postponed to December

2010-05-11 00:00

THE two-week corruption trial of KwaZulu-Natal businessman Jabulani Mabaso and Pamela Bosman-Zulu, former chief financial officer for the KZN Treasury and Education Department, was yesterday postponed until December 1 in the Pietermaritzburg high court.

The state, meanwhile, revealed that further accused could still be added before the case goes to trial — probably in April next year.

State advocate Rema Mahabeer told Judge Mohini Murugasen that December 1 is a provisional date on which the actual trial dates will be decided.

She did not reveal who the potential further accused are.

Mahabeer would also not be drawn into discussing this development with journalists after the case was adjourned.

The main reason given for yesterday’s postponement was the fact that Bosman-Zulu has appointed a new attorney, Pietermaritzburg lawyer Naren Sangham, to represent her.

Sangham informed the court he was only instructed in the matter on April 7 and due to the “voluminous” documents and complex nature of the case, he is not able to prepare for trial this week.

Advocate Rudi Krause, who represents Mabaso and his company, Indiza Infrastructure Solutions (Pty) Ltd, said they did not oppose the application for a postponement as they realised it was inevitable.

However, he placed on record that Mabaso and Indiza were prepared and ready to go to trial yesterday and said he had a number of “concerns” to record. The prejudice to his client, who had instructed senior counsel and who had gone to a great deal of expense and spent “hours” in unneccessary preparation for the start of the case this week, was obvious.

Krause said in November last year the prosecution provided Mabaso’s defence team with the police docket, which he said was “in a shambles”.

The witness statements were “mixed up” and in no order, and the state failed to reply to a number of written requests for information as to the identity of the witnesses they would be calling in the matter right up to February 23, he said.

Krause complained that when the defence finally received a list of state witnesses on March 30, it emerged that a number of their statements had not been provided to the defence. He displayed a volume of documents running to hundreds of pages, which he said were statements handed over to him only yesterday.

He also added that he was “concerned” that Sangham agreed to accept instructions in the case so late when it had already been enrolled for trial in the high court.

Mahabeer replied that the state handed over “in the region of 7 000 pages” to the defence last year and said while they were in the process of being copied, the prosecution was being “bombarded” with requests to deliver them as soon as possible.

In the circumstances the statements were handed over without her having an opportunity to check and see if everything was in order.

However, the judge intervened to say she would not allow the matter to “be turned into a game of badminton” between the parties.

Mabaso and Bosman-Zulu face numerous allegations of corruption, forgery, fraud and money laundering arising from the awarding of a tender to Indiza Infrastructure Solutions to act as an agent to supply books and stationary to schools in KZN.

Mabaso is currently on bail of R1 million and Zulu on R30 000 bail.

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