Labour dept fraud case postponed again

2012-02-13 12:19

Pretoria - The trial of seven people accused of defrauding the labour department's Compensation Fund of close to R1m was postponed again by the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Monday.

Magistrate Mariette Louw set the matter down for March 8, because three of the accused did not have legal representation.

Six of the accused are former employees of the department. They are Maxwell Ramaphosa, Samuel Mfeleng, Kgabo Methi, Debbie Venter, Tendani Eric Mukomafhedzi and Billy Ramskin. The seventh is physiotherapist Abel Diokano.

When the trial began on Monday, one of the accused asked to go outside and call his lawyer, who he said was "nearby". However, the lawyer did not arrive.

On January 26, the matter was postponed in the same court to allow Ramaphosa and Mfeleng to apply for Legal Aid. They were still not represented on Monday.

The seven face four counts of fraud and two counts of money laundering involving R950 000. They are out on warnings.

The labour department said the six former employees allegedly conspired with Diokano in the submission, approval and payment of fictitious claims.

The Compensation Fund is a public entity under the administration of the labour department. Its purpose is to compensate workers for disability, illness and death resulting from work-related injuries and diseases.