June 24, 2017

News:

R30 million graft case back in court

Former education officials finally get to answer graft charges against them…

The next five weeks will be the most gruelling for a total of 14 former education officials facing charges of corruption, fraud, extortion, money laundering and racketeering involving R30-million, in a marathon trial that has been wiggling for 16 years.

In the case that dates back to 2001, former provincial education department director general, Teboho Lioma, and 13 others were nabbed by the now disbanded elite crime fighting unit, the Scorpions, which has since been replaced by the Hawks.

The other accused in the matter are; Teboho Motaung of Moeng Enterprises, Phato Ramaema, Malehana Lesetla and Nteboheng Lesetla of Kopanang Women Enterprises, Tomo Teatsane and Petrus Teatsane of Matsapela Distributors, and Maria Letsela of Matwabeng Distributors, well known business man Isaac Soee, and his former wife Virginia Moseia, Jonas Lekitlane, Ntsikelelo Majola, Vuyisile Majola and Maria Mahoko.

The provincial spokesperson of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Phaladi Shuping said the matter is expected to be wrapped up in the allocated five-week period.

He said on the first day of the trial – Monday this week – one of the accused was reported by his lawyers to be ill and the court asked that medical proof be submitted to this effect.

Since the emergence of initial reports on the matter in 2012, a member of the tender committee and managing director of a company, Motseke David Mphuti, and Masopha Lekitla from Pulanala Investments have been added to the accused line up.

All the accused have been out on bail of R1 000 since the court dismissed the case 2001 with an instruction to investigators to carry out an in-depth probe into the accused’s alleged conspiracy to manipulate the allocation of the tender outcomes for the supply of learner support material to be conducted.

Lioma is accused of allegedly using his position and office to promote enterprises applying for tenders. It is claimed he gave tenders to preferred candidates who were in some cases less deserving applicants.

Lioma is also alleged to have helped in promoting fronting by preferred enterprises that were getting tenders from the department.

According to reports back then, evidence submitted by the NPA had included witness statements, cell-phone records, bank statements, and the fact that more than half of the 362 tenders had a 14 percent mark-up.

The investigation also revealed that Lioma was in regular contact with the co-accused.

A senior administrative officer and a member of the tender committee for the department, Sekese Motaung, who is also an ex-head of the tender section and acting assistant director, is among the accused.
Another education department employee, Alfred Molefe, was allegedly used as a front after allegedly being promised a house, a car, and R50 000 by Lioma to sign and fill in tender documents.

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