Cheeky Watson set to hear fate in court

Cheeky Watson (Gallo Images)
Cheeky Watson (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The trial against former EP Rugby president Cheeky Watson, who is being accused of fraud and money laundering, will get underway at the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court on Tuesday.

According to the Algoa FM website, the Director of Public Prosecutions has given the State the go-ahead to add an additional charge of failure to report suspicion of theft against Watson.

The case involves millions of Rands earmarked for the beleaguered Integrated Public Transport System (IPTS) project which was allegedly used fraudulently by Watson and his co-accused.

Watson is charged along with Nadia Gerwel, a former assistant director in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s finance department, Zeranza director Andrea Wessels and Mandisa Mkasa, a former director of Laphum’ilanga Transport Services.

The above-mentioned quartet appeared in court on Monday, but before the trial could commence Watson’s legal team objected to the additional charge laid against their client.

The trial was postponed after Watson asked for his case to be separated on the basis that he only faced two counts in comparison to the 40 or more counts faced by his co-accused.

But Magistrate Lionel Lindoor dismissed the application, saying that it would not be in the interests of justice to grant a separation of the trial.

Judgement is expected to be given on Tuesday.

Watson stepped down from his role as president of the EPRU in 2017.

Under Watson as president, the EPRU plunged into a financial crisis in 2015, with the union unable to pay players’ salaries.

Watson had promised a R200m sponsorship for the Kings but this failed to materialise, with players forced to accept food vouchers following the non-payment of salaries.

SA Rugby was eventually forced to step in and take control of the union which was eventually liquidated.

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