SASSA fraud: accused strapped for legal fees

2011-10-06 00:00

THREE South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) officials charged with defrauding the agency in KwaZulu-Natal of R1,8 million told the court that they could not afford their legal representative’s fees and that their lawyer had withdrawn from the case.

Mduduzi Maxwell Mkhize (33) of Ulundi, Thulani Psychology Ngubane (31) of Ntuzuma and Skhumbuzo Zulu (37) from Durban, all charged with defrauding the agency that disperses government grants, appeared in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate Court yesterday.

Their co-accused, Sipho Sthembiso Msomi, allegedly installed software on the agency’s computers to make payments to three suppliers.

Msomi, who is an IT specialist, pleaded guilty in this case in March this year and he is serving a 13-year sentence of which five years were suspended on condition that he is not convicted of fraud. In his plea statement Msomi said they lead Vukile Njegele, an official at SASSA, to believe and accept that their business was entitled to payment.

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