The nine accused who allegedly defrauded Sol Plaatje municipality of R1,6 million were released on bail ranging from R1 000 to R2 000 in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on Friday, as the majority are unemployed.
THE NINE accused who allegedly defrauded Sol Plaatje municipality of R1,6 million were released on bail ranging from R1 000 to R2 000 in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on Friday, as the majority are unemployed.
The accused Charles Ndebele, 51, Mmpoletseng Beauty Kilelo, 40, Evelyn Makoloi 60, Paul Mission Mokoena, 50, Tjetjepa Motaung, 46, Mandy Kelebogile Ntshoe, 36, Laban Ntshoe, 37, Yvonne Oratile Schoeman, 32 and Jacqueline Tshilo, 44 are facing charges of fraud and money laundering.
The state alleges that ghost workers were registered on the Sol Plaatje Municipality database between 2011 and 2016 where money was deposited into various bank accounts amounting to approximately R1,6 million.
Ndebele, Kilelo, Makaloi and Motaung were previously employed at the municipality, although none of the accused are currently employed at the municipality.
The state did not oppose bail as the investigating officer indicated that the matter was “old” as it dated back to 2011-2016 and the majority of the accused are not employed and could be easily traced.
Legal representative for Motaung, Advocate Van Straaten added that his client had no previous convictions or pending cases and should be released on bail.
Legal representative for the remainder of the accused, Advocate Phela believed that it was “in the interests of justice” to release the accused on bail
He maintained that the applicants who were not employed, should be released on a warning as they were unable to afford bail.
“While Laban Ntshoe is working his wife is not and he is supporting their minor children. He is the sole breadwinner as he is supporting his family in Kimberley and Cape Town.”
State advocate Sue-Anne Weyers-Gericke pointed out that if found guilty, the accused would face a jail sentence.
She advised the court to secure bail at an amount of R5 000 for all the accused, due to the seriousness of the offence and the amount involved.
“The state wanted to bring an application that the accused report to their closest police station on a weekly basis. However, this will be difficult to monitor as not all the accused are from Kimberley. Some are from the surrounding areas and Cape Town.”
Magistrate Mbetane released Motaung and Ntshoe on R2 000 bail as they are earning an income where one owns a tavern and the other is employed at Transnet, while he granted bail of R1 000 for all the other accused.
He postponed the matter until April 22 and transferred the case to the Kimberley Regional Court.