- Former Gauteng health MEC Brian Hlongwa and his seven co-accused, including his wife, have made their first appearance in court.
- The accused face 258 charges relating to tenders issued during Hlongwa's tenure as MEC.
- They were all granted bail ranging from R20 000 to R50 000.
Three people linked to a corruption and fraud case involving former Gauteng health MEC Brian Hlongwa are out on bail in another case where they faced charges of fraud, corruption, money laundering and contravening the Public Finance Management Act.
The accused - Obakeng Mookeletsi, Sybil Ngcobo and Valdis Ramaano – as well as former Gauteng health department chief director of information and communications technology Mmakgosi Mosupi were all granted bail in that case.
On Tuesday, Mookeletsi, Ngcobo and Ramaano joined Hlongwa, his wife Joeline, Mohamed Rahman, Reatile Lolwane and Nivan Pillay in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court to face fresh charges.
READ | Former Gauteng health MEC Brian Hlongwa to appear in court more than a decade after corruption claims
The accused face 258 charges that include fraud, corruption, racketeering, conducting an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering, contravening sections of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act and money laundering.
They handed themselves over to Hawks investigators at the Johannesburg Central police station on Tuesday morning, accompanied by their lawyers.
They were later led to the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court where they made their first appearance.
They were all granted bail ranging from R20 000 to R50 000.
However, in court it was revealed Ngcobo, Mookeletsi and Ramaano were out on bail for another case.One of the accused, Richard John Payne, 52, was not in court but in Mauritius and according to the indictment, he lives there.
#BrianHlongwa Former Gauteng Health MEC Brian Hlongwa, his wife Joelene and other co-accused seated in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court. They are expected to bring a formal bail application today @TeamNews24 pic.twitter.com/MiRGJ09aTK— ntwaagae Seleka (@ntwaagae) December 7, 2021
Prosecutor Raymond Mathenjwa told the court processes to extradite Payne were underway.
The seven companies belonging to the accused - 3P Consulting, Ukwakha Design, Midnight Masquerade Properties, Golden Pond Trading, Brisigo Properties, Regiments Healthcare and Ergold Property No8 - were also listed as accused in the case.
Hlongwa is linked to Brisigo Properties and Golden Pond Trading, where he is listed as a director of both.
#BrianHlongwa Hlongwa, his wife Joeline, seven other co-accused and seven companies are expected to face multiple charges including fraud, corruption, racketeering. The offence were allegedly committed during Hlongwa's tenure as Gauteng Health MEC @TeamNews24— ntwaagae Seleka (@ntwaagae) December 7, 2021
It is alleged Hlongwa and Joeline received kickbacks from tenders issued by the department during his tenure as MEC.
It is alleged 3P Consulting, led by Payne and Lolwane, did business with the City of Johannesburg when Hlongwa was a councillor.
The company then followed Hlongwa to the provincial government when he became an MEC and started doing business with the department.
Hlongwa and Payne are described as acquaintances who knew each other before 2006.
#BrianHlongwa Accused number 7, Richard John Payne was not present in court. The court heard that he is Mauritius @TeamNews24 pic.twitter.com/1zyxE7wXmY— ntwaagae Seleka (@ntwaagae) December 7, 2021
Mathenjwa did not oppose bail, but pleaded with Magistrate Simon Radasi to grant each accused R50 000 bail under strict conditions.
Delivering his judgment, Radasi ruled the accused were not flight risks.
READ | Hlongwa, wife and co-accused granted bail ranging from R20 000 - R50 000
"The respondent is not opposing bail. The accused handed themselves over. There is no evidence that the accused will interfere with witnesses directly or indirectly.
"The accused must hand over their passports. They must not leave the Republic of South Africa without permission of the investigating officer. If the investigating officer doesn't want to listen to their application, they can approach the court," he added.
Hlongwa, Mookeletsi, Ngcobo and Ramaano were each granted bail of R20 000.
Rahman was granted R25 000 bail, while Lolwane, Pillay and Joeline were each granted bail of R50 000.
The case was postponed to 22 April 2022.