Zondo commission: Forensic auditor's evidence to proceed after bid to delay evidence kicked out

2020-01-20 13:08
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. (Netwerk24, file)

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. (Netwerk24, file)

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PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) forensic auditor Trevor White is expected to proceed with his evidence at the state capture commission of inquiry after two people implicated in the so-called "Amigos" fraud case lost a bid to delay his testimony.

Former KwaZulu-Natal Treasury boss Sipho Shabalala and his wife, Beatrice, approached the commission to have White's testimony stayed on the basis that he is the main witness in the pending "Amigos" trial.

"If Mr White testifies today before he testifies in the trial court, untold prejudice will be inferred on my client. We are not asking for him not to testify but we are asking for delay of his testimony until the trial commences," advocate Khumba Shazi submitted.

READ | Zondo commission to approach court in 'due course' for an extension

But commission chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, was concerned that granting such an order would set a precedent.

"If I grant the order that you ask for, I might as well forget about finishing the work of the commission this year," Zondo said.

'Absurd'

The commission which officially began in August, 2018 was expected to complete its work by February 2020, but it has since applied for an extension until December 2020.

ALSO READ | 'Amigos' case drags on as 2 accused ask to be tried separately

Evidence Leader, advocate Paul Pretorius, told Zondo: "The applicants have a choice, they can choose to cross-examine or remain silent (pending summons, of course)… The work of this commission cannot be curtailed because people might listen to what happens here. That is absurd."

Zondo dismissed the application and indicated that reasons could be provided later, if necessary.

Shabalala and his wife are implicated in the "Amigos" case which involves allegations of racketeering, corruption and fraud to the tune of R144m.

There were initially 23 accused in the case, including ANC heavyweights Mike Mabuyakhulu and Peggy Nkonyeni.

But charges have since been withdrawn against the pair and others, cutting the list of accused down to nine.

The inquiry continues.

Read more on:    pwc  |  state capture inquiry
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