Fraud case lawyer a no show in court

2012-04-12 19:14

Pretoria - Seven people accused of defrauding the labour department's Compensation Fund of close to R1m appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

Magistrate Mariette Louw postponed the long-running case against the six former department employees and a doctor.

This was because a lawyer representing one of the accused, Tendani Mukomafhedzi, did not turn up in court, the department said in a statement.

Mukomafhedzi is charged together with Maxwell Ramaphosa, Samuel Mfeleng, Kgabo Methi, Debbie Venter, Billy Ramskin and the doctor, Abel Diokana. The matter was postponed to May 30. The department said Louw expressed disappointment at the attorney's no-show without any explanation.

On March 8, Louw postponed the matter to allow the accused to arrange their legal representation. The seven face four counts of fraud and two of money laundering. They are all out of custody on warnings.

The department claims its former employees connived and recruited Diokana. They allegedly siphoned money from the fund after the submission and approval of fictitious claims related to workplace injuries.

In another matter, Ramaphosa and Mfeleng face three counts of fraud and four counts of money laundering involving close to R500 000. They were out on warnings for that case, and expected back in court on May 3.

The pair's co-accused Jones Mothemola Modau, also a doctor, pleaded guilty last month in the Pretoria Specialised Crime Court before their matter was transferred to the magistrate's court as part of a separation of the trial.

The two were also embroiled in another fraud case, relating to more than R2m.