Former SA Revenue Service (Sars) deputy director Mandisa Mokwena walked out of court a free woman yesterday after being acquitted on charges of fraud, racketeering and money laundering.
Judge Sulet Potterill said she might have her suspicions about Mokwena’s knowledge of a pattern of racketeering involving five of her co-accused with the manipulation of quotations for training and research work for Sars, but the State could not prove her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The judge found that Mokwena’s version that she did not read her e-mails and was not aware of the manipulation of quotations could be possibly true.
She found Mokwena’s version, that a cash payment of R660 000 by former Unisa academic Prof Oludele Aikonboade into her husband’s account was for the repayment of a loan, was reasonably possible.
She also found that various cash payments of between R20 000 and R50 000 into Mokwena’s bank account could have been payments for her work as a National Intelligence agent and the State had not proved that the payments were made by her co-accused in furtherance of their fraudulent scheme.
Mokwena, who resigned from Sars in 2009, is a former business partner of First Lady Thobeka Madiba-Zuma.
Mokwena hugged and shook the hand of her advocate, Arno Venter, after her acquittal, but did not want to speak to the press.
Venter said it had been a long and arduous journey to reach this point, but in the end justice had prevailed.
Judge Potterill found Mokwena’s former personal assistant at Sars, Leslie Moonsamy, guilty on one charge of fraud.
She found former Unisa economic sciences professor Oludele Akinboade and his wife, Nancy, former Venda university professor Agyapong Gyekye and businessperson Boitumelo Boshego guilty on a range of charges, including several of fraud.