Home News Block can’t afford ‘truckload of documents’

Block can’t afford ‘truckload of documents’

578

Former ANC provincial chairperson John Block informed the court that he can’t afford to pay for the “truckload of evidence” in the Kimberley Mental Health Hospital case, where the defence has been burdened with the cost of a room full of boxes containing files and documents.

The accused in the Kimberley Mental Health Hospital matter – the former HOD for Transport, Roads and Public Works, Patience Mercia Mokhali, the former MEC for Transport, Roads and Public Works, John Block, and the director of Babereki Consulting Engineers CC, Tshegolekae Motaung – chat to legal representative Herholdt Robertson. Picture: Soraya Crowie

FORMER ANC provincial chairperson John Block advised the court that he was not in a position to pay for a “truckload of evidence”, where the defence in the Kimberley Mental Health Hospital case has been made to foot the bill for a room full of boxes.

A request was made during a recent court appearance that representations be made to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in order for the boxes of documents to be provided to Block free of charge.

The charges in the case include fraud, corruption, money laundering, and contravention of the Engineering Professions Act and the Public Finance Management Act.

Block was the MEC for Transport, Roads and Public Works at the time when a R51 million tender was awarded to Babereki Consulting Engineers CC for structural, civil engineering and project management of the Kimberley Mental Health Hospital construction project in 2003.

The project’s construction costs ballooned from R290 million to over R2.1 billion and it took 14 years to complete.

Herholdt Robertson, the legal representative for the co-accused – the former HOD for the Department of Transport, Roads and Public Works, Patience Mercia Mokhali, and the director of Babereki Consulting Engineers CC, Tshegolekae Motaung, indicated that the first two batches of documents had cost them R70,000.

“The first two batches consist of 51 boxes. It took a long time to go through everything. Many of the pages do not pertain to the criminal case – such as an arbitration case, a risk management study, minutes from the Department of Health and tender documents,” said Robertson.

“I am not prepared to fork out almost R1 million for copies of the third batch. It is said to be sketches and plans and will not be useful evidence.”

Robertson requested that he be allowed to first inspect the third batch of files at the DPP offices, in the presence of security.

“If I select which pages are to be copied that will be relevant to the defence, it will shorten the process and reduce the bill.”

He stated that the previous State prosecutor, advocate Lentswe Setoute, had not exaggerated when he advised him in May 2023 that it was a “truckload of documents”.

“I want to make an application for further particulars but I still need the third batch.”

Robertson offered to share copies of the relevant documents with Block, without any charge.

“The defence will require between four to six weeks to prepare.”

State prosecutor Sazile Gesi indicated that only one box was outstanding in the first batch lot.

“It is well within the rights of the defence to go through the documents,” said Gesi.

Kimberley Magistrate Kubashnie Padayachee postponed the matter until July 18.

Some of the files contained in the batch of documents that had to be transported in a truck. Picture: Sandi Kwon Hoo
Previous articleOh, if only ‘Old Alex’ had quit
Next articleRising soccer talent keen to shine on international stage