Bloemfontein - A Bloemfontein man who conned people out of thousands of rands by advertising a seminar for black industrialists with Free State Premier Ace Magashule has been sentenced to five years in prison.
Bongani Eugene Radebe, 32, was found guilty of two fraud charges by the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, Netwerk24 reported.
Regional Magistrate Dawn Soomaroo ordered that his sentences run concurrently, meaning he was jailed for in effect four years.
In 2015, Radebe fraudulently advertised the “seminar” on Facebook and in newspapers. It was aimed at black industrialists and it was claimed that Magashule would be the guest speaker.
Magashule was in Russia on an official visit on December 3, 2015, the day on which the “seminar” was supposed to have been held at the Emoya estate near Bloemfontein.
According to the Facebook ad, the seminar would have been about getting tenders and how to get onto the provincial government’s list of suppliers. The price was R895 per person, or R8 950 for a table.
However, there was no seminar.
Radebe said in his plea bargain that he knew what he had done was wrong and wanted the court to punish him. He said after the premier’s office caught him out, he repaid all the money.
Soomaroo found Radebe guilty on the second charge of fraud for opening an account at OK Furnishers in Heidedal on September 25, 2013, using someone else’s ID, payslip, and address.
The owner of the ID had lost the document a few days earlier. Radebe pasted his photo into the ID and presented it as his own.
He bought a TV and fridge worth more than R15 000, which he would have paid in instalments. He was arrested in the store after the salesperson verified his details.