Blue light tender fraud case: Postponed for court to hear an application of unreasonable delay

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Photo Credit: SAPS
Photo Credit: SAPS
  • The case against former senior police officers and a businessman has been postponed until November.  
  • The accused appeared in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on Monday.  
  • Two of the accused have brought an application of unreasonable delay, which will be argued in November.  

Former senior police officers, civilians and a businessman allegedly involved in the fraudulent multimillion-rand blue lights tender case appeared in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Johannesburg on Monday.

The case has, however, been delayed again.

The matter was postponed until 25 November to hear an application of unreasonable delay brought by former acting national commissioner Khomotso Phahlane and former deputy national police commissioner Bonang Mgwenya, said spokesperson for the Investigating Directorate Sindisiwe Seboka.

She said the other accused were in support of the application. 

The accused face 392 charges, including fraud, corruption, theft and money laundering related to the R191 million tender to fit 1 500 police vehicles with blue lights.

The other accused include businessman Vimpie Phineas Tlalefang Manthata, his company, Instrumentation for Traffic Law Enforcement, former Gauteng police commissioner Deliwe de Lange, former police officers Ramahlapi Mokwena, James Ramanjalum, Lettie Napo, Thomas Marima, Joseph Mulaiwa, and civilians Judy Rose and Samantha Andrews.

READ | Blue lights tender fraud case postponed again

In an affidavit filed in support of the application, lawyer Nadia Steyn, for Phahlane, said the State had failed to "provide proper disclosure to the accused despite being ordered to do so by the court on 10 December 2020".   

The court ordered the full disclosure to take place on 28 February 2021.

"This will inevitably lead to serious prejudice to accused 7 should this state of affairs be allowed to continue and should accused 7 enter into the trial proceedings without proper disclosure having been done by the State," said Steyn.

Steyn said the issue giving rise to the application arose when the State requested that the accused provide it with a hard drive on which it would upload the disclosure.

However. she said the information disclosed to all the accused was not the same and "it appears to be an insurmountable task to sensibly analyse the disclosure, or rather the dumped information due to the fact that it is unorganised, unpaginated, unindexed and contains no indication as to what the relevance may be to the charges brought against the accused persons, and no face value, the vast majority of this information is clearly irrelevant".

She added: 

The only possible inference to draw is that the State intends to frustrate the defence and divert their attention by bogging them down in useless searches of irrelevant material.

Steyn said it would be submitted during argument that the "dumped information purporting to be disclosure in fact amounts to no disclosure at all".

"To this end, the court will be requested to strike the matter off the roll. [The] legal argument will be addressed to this court when this application is heard [on 25 November]." 

Meanwhile, Seboka said the application was another attempt at delaying the case further.

The court previously heard that the State had a watertight case against the accused.

ALSO READ | Blue light tender fraud: State is ready for trial, despite bid to have matter struck off roll

The trial was scheduled to take place from 16 November to 10 December last year, but the court heard an application to dismiss the case by lawyers representing the accused, News24 previously reported.

However, in December last year, the accused lost the application to have the matter struck off the roll.

At the time, the magistrate, Emmanuel Magampa, said he had no reason to doubt the State was ready to proceed with the trial.

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