A project officer attached to the national department of rural development and land reform has appeared in court charged with fraud and corruption.
Lusapho Ngqongqo, 40, of Langa in Cape Town, appeared in the Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Thursday before magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg, who extended his R1 500 bail, and warned him to appear again on September 15.
Ngqongqo was a project officer at the office of the Western Cape Regional Land Claims Commissioner, and his duties included the submission of reports and recommendations, for the settlement of claims, to the commissioner. He also had to verify beneficiaries who qualified for restitution awards, and implement such awards.
One such claim was lodged by Nomalanga Queenie Kholi, in respect of property at Sakkieskamp in Wellington, that had belonged to her parents before they were dispossessed. This particular claim was allocated to Ngqongqo for processing.
Prosecutor Ezmeralda Johnson alleges that Ngqongqo abused his position by fraudulently registering Phumela Ndoni, the mother of his child, as one of the beneficiaries in the Kholi claim. According to the charge sheet, the Kholi claim was paid, and Ndoni fraudulently received R12 790.
The money was paid into a bank account in Ndoni’s name, specially opened for this purpose by Ngqongqo. It is alleged that Ngqongqo and Ndoni shared the money.
Ngqongqo faces two counts of corruption, and one of fraud.
Ndoni pleaded guilty in March to charges of fraud and money laundering, and received a five-year suspended prison sentence in plea bargain proceedings.
In terms of the suspended sentence, she is to testify against Ngqongqo when his trial eventually commences.
– African News Agency (ANA)