I’m not guilty – former Executive Mayor Khumalo

The Ventersdorp Regional Court rolled over the fraud and theft case against the former Executive Mayor of JB Marks Local Municipality in Potchefstroom, Kgotso Khumalo and others to to tomorrow, 13 October 2021.

Khumalo together with Cecil Henry and Mohau Shuping are facing eight charges of theft and fraud from the municipality funds. They pleaded not guilty to all charges against them.

The trial commenced with the state leading its evidence in chief by its key witness, Willem Coetzee. Coetze was introduced to the court as an attorney from Willem Coetzee Attorneys, a law firm which was a member of a panel of attorneys appointed by the JB Marks Local Municipality to manage its legal and financial mandates through a trust fund.

He testified on how the accused instructed him as the acting chairperson of the panel, to make payments in several accounts in different occasions.

It is alleged that the North West University and the Programme for Community Development paid millions into a trust account belonging to Coetzee’s law firm for the use of specific projects by the municipality.

The attorney was then given instructions to effect various payments including R208 000 mayoral committee contribution towards the funeral of the late MEC for Agriculture, Duma Ndleleni, who passed away on 23 November 2018.

He told the court that he was also instructed to pay two amounts of R35 000 to Kagisano Funerals for the same funeral. A further R32 000 was allegedly paid to Roche Trading for a service rendered at the funeral.

An amount of R210 000 was also highlighted as a form of payment to a law firm, Langford and Sons Projects (PTY) Ltd for an Australian football tour that was undertaken by Henry.

It was however discovered that R200 000 was paid directly into the account of one of the accused. From this amount, R64 218 was paid to an institution where Khumalo’s relative was a student. Coetzee also testified on how Khumalo instructed him to pay two Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) an amount of R50 000 each, which he indicated was a loan that will be paid back. He was later given a different account to which he transferred an amount of R100 000, instead of the R50 000 to each NGO. Coetzee told the court that he has since ceased from being a member of the panel following investigations into this case.

Coetzee will tomorrow undergo cross-examination from the defence team on his evidence.

The state intends calling more witnesses to prove that false invoices were generated to effect more fictitious payments in the process of defrauding and stealing money meant for community development in the JB Marks Local Municipality.

The three will remain out on a warning and are expected back in court tomorrow.

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