Former Eastern Cape health MEC Sindiswa Gomba
- Axed health MEC Sindiswa Gomba and 11 others face an array of charges, including fraud and money laundering.
- They are accused of misleading the Buffalo City Metro into believing that it had an obligation to make money available for the funeral of former president Nelson Mandela.
- It is alleged that R10 million was siphoned from the Buffalo City Metro under the pretence that it was meant for the funeral.
Former Eastern Cape Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba and 11 others briefly appeared in the East London Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday charges of fraud and money laundering which relate to the funeral of former president Nelson Mandela.
The charges stem from allegations that R10 million were siphoned from the Buffalo City Metro (BCM) under the pretence that it was meant for the funeral of former president Nelson Mandela.
Gomba and the other ANC heavyweights and municipal officials in the BCM region are also accused of the alleged contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act.
The matter was provisionally postponed to July for consultations, the management of pre-trial matters and the possible determination of a trial date.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said the accused were ordered to appear in court again on 28 July.
It is alleged that politicians, municipal officials and business people hatched a scheme to swindle the BCM out of R10 million during preparations for Mandela’s funeral in December 2013.
According to the charge sheet, it is alleged that the accused received about R6 million of the R10 million.
READ | Mandela funeral ‘fraud’: ‘I am not worried’ – says axed health MEC Sindiswa Gomba outside court
The municipal manager, Andile Fani, stopped the payment of the rest of the R10 million.
The accused allegedly misled the municipality into believing that it had an obligation to make money available for Mandela’s funeral and memorial service.
According to the charge sheet, once the R10 million was availed, the accused acted with a common purpose to defraud and manipulate municipal procurement processes through illegal deviations, and then to manipulate the situation so that funding could be used for other purposes than for what it was approved.
The accused are out on bail.
The trial is expected to be transferred to the local High Court, according to NPA spokesperson Sipho Ngwema.
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The other ANC members accused alongside Gomba include provincial executive committee member and regional chair Phumlani Mkolo, former Buffalo City metro mayor Zukisa Ncitha, former speaker Luleka Simon-Ndzele, and former deputy mayor Themba Tinta.
Gomba has since been fired as the health MEC due to the allegations.
In March, the Eastern Cape ANC announced that it had suspended Mkolo from all party activities.
Ncitha, a member of the National Council of Provinces, voluntarily stepped aside.
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