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John Block, Gaston Savoi, Fernando Praderi, Patrick Lenyibi, Frank Mashilo and Nandi Madiba want Intaka charges put on hold

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Defence argued that the matter can be reinstated at a later stage

Some of the accused in the dock. Picture: Danie van der Lith

THE ACCUSED in the Intaka fraud, corruption and money laundering trial intend applying for the charges against them to be provisionally withdrawn, seven years after the matter was brought to court.

The defence teams have argued that the matter can be reinstated at a later stage, once more clarity has been obtained as to when the trial will begin.

The ability of witnesses to testify so long after the alleged offences were committed and whether they will still be alive when the trial finally begins was said to impact on the credibility of evidence that will be presented.

Former ANC provincial chairperson, John Fikile Block, Dr Gaston Savoi and Fernando Praderi from Intaka Holdings, former Sol Plaatje mayor Patrick Lenyibi, former municipal manager Frank Mashilo and former chief financial officer Nandi Madiba, were in court on Friday in connection with the purchase of six water purifiers, valued at R2.7 million, for Ritchie that were never installed.

Savoi, in his capacity as director of Skyros Health (Pty) Ltd, his son, Rodriguez Savoi, the CEO of Skyros Health, and former director of supply chain management at the Department of Health, Sanjay Mittahwere, were in court on charges of fraud, forgery, uttering and money laundering in connection with the purchase of 16 dialysis machines for health facilities in the Northern Cape.

Senior state advocate Hannes Cloete indicated that the state was likely be in a better position to determine the direction of the case once Dr Savoi’s legal team had met with the national director of public prosecutions next week.

“It appears that a decision will be made in the near future.” He pointed out that two years down the line it appeared as if any progress on the prosecution had stagnated.

Legal representative for Dr Savoi, Savoi and Praderi, senior advocate Francois van Zyl indicated that the application for the permanent stay of prosecution was launched in KwaZulu-Natal on May 28 2013.

Savoi’s legal defence has applied for access to documentation that they believe will have an impact on both Intaka matters in the Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

“If the application is successful it will end these prosecutions.”

He explained that it was not possible to join the three cases in the Northern Cape, as different accused were involved.

“It was previously considered but the logistics of lumping the cases together, cannot work. The application for the stay of prosecution and legal representation, must first be heard in KwaZulu Natal before the matters in the Northern Cape can proceed.”

He pointed out that the cases were bound to continue indefinitely.

“Whoever loses will appeal. We are looking at a very long time.”

Madiba, who is representing herself, objected to a further postponement.

She indicated that she would approach the Constitutional Court, based on “new facts of a malicious prosecution”.

This follows after the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed a petition against an application for a permanent stay of prosecution.

“It is now seven years and we are going on for eight years in court. I am approaching retirement . . . unemployed. I cannot be considered for a five year contract because of my age.

“It cannot be in the interest of justice for a case to be pending for eight years. Last year I lost an employment opportunity at a bank. I am accused of failing as a chief financial officer and contravening the municipal finance regulations,” Madiba stated.

She said that she wished to urgently oppose the delays.

“I am waiting an international interview but when vetting is done I am labeled as having a criminal matter against me.”

Legal representative for Block, Mashilo and Lenyibi, Dali Mjila pointed out that the tiresome delays was wearing upon the patience of his clients.

He stated that they had not taken further legal steps. “Savoi has applied for a permanent stay of prosecution and we do not wish to duplicate the process. We will allow it to run its course and may consider our options after the outcome.”

Acting Judge Sharon Erasmus postponed both matters until August 17 2018 and indicated that the accused could be summoned to return to court at an earlier date.