News / South Africa

Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
23 May 2017
6:41 am

Former group executive of Sars in court on various criminal charges

Ilse de Lange

The charges range from fraud to money laundering.

Picture: Thinkstock

The state has asked for the conviction of Mandisa Mokwena, the former group executive of the South African Revenue Service (Sars), on criminal charges ranging from fraud to money laundering.

Mokwena, Sars cost centre manager Leslie Moonsamy and a number of academics and business acquaintances in October 2015 pleaded not guilty to 50 charges of racketeering, corruption, money laundering and fraud involving R11 million.

The state accused Mokwena of using her senior position to ensure training and research contracts were awarded to her supervisor at Unisa and co-accused Oludele Akinboade, his wife, Ashuma, and their co-accused between 2007 and 2009.

This was allegedly done in return for assistance with her doctoral studies at Venda University and almost R1 million in cash.

It is further alleged that Sars was convinced to overpay for the contracts and that Mokwena had convinced Akinboade to deposit R660 000 into her husband Bernard’s bank account to hide her link with Akinboade.

The state called 43 witnesses to testify against the accused.

Mokwena denied any wrongdoing and claimed cash payments into her account were for work she had done as a spy for the State Security Agency while at Sars and for training foreign diplomats.

She claimed she never opened her e-mails at work and was not aware of any manipulation of the procurement process.

Akinboade claimed the case against him had been fabricated by a “rogue unit” within Sars. Prosecutor Hein van der Merwe argued that the state had proved a pattern of racketeering and fraud with Mokwena, Akinboade, Ghanaian academic Boateng Gyekye and businesswoman Boitumelo Boshego as the main role players.

He argued that Mokwena had no scruples getting “as much money from the state as possible”, taking money from other state departments while earning an executive income from Sars.

He said she was aware Akinboade and four of her co-accused were manipulating the quotations but did nothing to stop it.

Mokwena’s advocate, Steven Joseph, argued that the state could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she had read her e-mails and was aware of any wrongdoing.

Judgment is expected in August.

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