Surprise plea bargain in MIB case

2011-09-06 00:00

BUSINESSMAN and former councillor Lucky Moloi and five co-accused charged with corruption arising from a 2003 property deal involving uMgungundlovu District Municipality were taken aback yesterday to learn that former accused estate agent Neville Watts made a secret appearance in a Durban court last week, where he pleaded guilty and that he is now prepared to give evidence for the prosecution.

This disclosure by state advocate Rema Mahabeer in the regional court in Pietermaritzburg took lawyers acting for Watts’s former co-accused — Lucky Moloi, ex-uMgungundlovu district councillor Themba Zungu, former bodyguard Thembinkosi Xaba, former Msunduzi deputy mayor Alpha Shelembe, his wife, Joyful Shelembe, and sister, Nelisiwe Shelembe — “by complete surprise” yesterday.

The Witness was not able to confirm specific details of the plea entered into by Watts yesterday, but it is understood that he was fined R50 000 and sentenced to a period of correctional supervision.

The accused are charged with having colluded to persuade the uMgungundlovu District Municipality to buy the MIB building in Langalibalele Street in 2003 at an inflated price of R6 850 000.

The state alleged that Watts, Zungu and Alpha Shelembe shared a R1 million “commission” between them.

The other accused are alleged to have helped launder the money to conceal its origin.

The property in question was bought by the district municipality for office and parking space.

The case was yesterday postponed until September 27 by regional magistrate Jaco Jordaan.

It is expected that a new trial date will be set on that day.

Sapa reports that Shelembe yesterday also appointed new lawyers, who pleaded for more time to prepare for the trial.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.