Top cops fail in bid to have R191m 'blue lights' case struck from the roll

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  • The Palm Ridge Commercial Crimes Court has dismissed a bid by two accused in the R191 million "blue light" fraud and theft case to have the case struck from the roll.
  • The application was brought by former acting national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane and former deputy national police commissioner Bonang Mgwenya.
  • The 12 accused in the case have been charged with corruption, fraud, theft and money laundering.

Some of the accused in the R191 million police blue lights case have failed to have the case struck from the roll.

Former acting national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane and former deputy national commissioner Bonang Mgwenya applied to have the case struck from the roll, citing unreasonable delays.

"While it is so that the matter has been delayed, I am unable to align myself with the applicants' contention that it is the prosecution that has unreasonably delayed the progress of the matter," said  magistrate Emmanual Magampa in the Palm Ridge Commercial Crimes Court on Friday

The case relates to a contract to supply emergency warning equipment to the police in 2016.

The contract was worth R191 million.

READ | Blue lights tender: Phahlane, Mgwenya fight to have case struck from roll, judgment expected in May

However, R65 million was allegedly paid to Instrumentation for Traffic Law Enforcement (Pty) Ltd.

A further payment of R22 million was stopped as a result of an investigation by the Investigating Directorate and Independent Police Investigative Directorate.

The accused are Phahlane, Mgwenya, former Gauteng police commissioner Deliwe de Lange, former Gauteng deputy police commissioner Nombhuruza Lettie Napo, retired divisional commissioner Lieutenant-General Ramahlapi Johannes Mokwena, Brigadier James Ramanjalum, Colonel Thomas Dumas Marima and Sergeant Maetapese Joseph Mulaiwa.

Three civilians - Judy Rose, Samantha Andrews and Vimpie Manthatha who is the owner of Instrumentation for Traffic Law enforcement (Pty) Ltd - are the other accused in the case.

Magampa said the case was of national interest and that taxpayers' money was involved.

"The public has a vested interest in seeing that the law takes it course and that justice is done.

"The justice alluded to herein is not necessarily the conviction and imprisonment of any individual but the process of seeing to it that a person suspected that a person of having committed a crime is put through a process where their guilt or innocence can be determined in an appropriate forum."

Magampa added an issue was raised that the accused were burdened with costs and this should be one of the factors which should see the court rule in their favour.

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

"Litigation is by its nature costly. The extent of the costs, as one would expect, is commensurate with the magnitude of the case and the complexity of the charges. A case against 12 accused, facing a total of over 390 charges and involving over R191 million, is bound to be costly."

All the accused face charges of corruption, fraud, theft and money laundering.

The trial will continue on 2 August.

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