National 29.7.2016 02:30 pm

Case against former acting Cogta head resurfaces

Sam Ngubane (second from left) outside court. Picture: Lowvelder

Sam Ngubane (second from left) outside court. Picture: Lowvelder

Sam Ngubane and his wife, Angel, and two others were charged with corruption relating to a tender.

The corruption trial of a government official recently disappeared from the court roll, but upon investigation it transpired that this was only due to an electronic fault with the court record system.

The former acting head of the department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta), Sam Ngubane will appear in the Nelspruit Regional Court on corruption charges on August 31. This was confirmed by National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Monica Nyauswa on Wednesday.

Ngubane and his wife, Angel, handed themselves over to the police after having been requested to do so in October 2013. They were charged along with Edwin Makhabela and Cleopas Mahlalela from Takitsi Trading with corruption, relating to a tender that was awarded to Takitsi while Ngubane was acting as HOD.

He filled the position in 2009 when Cogta came into being as a result of the former department of local government and housing splitting into the department of human settlements and Cogta.

In that same year the province’s Water for All project was launched.

In March that year, the department indicated that the main objective of the project was to accelerate the roll-out of water infrastructure to meet higher level of services in order to ensure that the basic level of services would be progressively provided in areas without infrastructure. This was stipulated in a press release dated March 9, 2012.

Takitsi was awarded a three-year water-cleaning contract, apparently approved by Ngubane, as part of Water for All.

During October 2013 the prosecution placed on record that the Ngubanes received an apartment worth R1.5 million in Amanzimtoti, KwaZulu-Natal after the tender was awarded.

It was alleged that this was indicative of a corrupt relationship between the Ngubanes and Takitsi Trading.

Lowvelder recently enquired whether the case was still on the court role.

According to the department of justice’s Integrated Case Management System (ICMS), an electronic database depicting the progress in criminal court cases, it was no longer being prosecuted.

When asked whether that was the case, Nyauswa denied it and said the trial was still ongoing.

Lowvelder received confirmation from officials at the Nelspruit Magistrates’ Court that they had been experiencing problems with ICMS, as it had been recently reprogrammed.

However, confirmation was received that the electronic database was being updated to reflect the correct information. The officials who confirmed this to Lowvelder, identified themselves to the journalist, but requested their names not to be published.

– Caxton News Service

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