Sentencing proceedings in a corruption case involving two former City of Ekurhuleni officials have been delayed again, as one of the convicted men has not yet fully paid for a social worker report that will be used in mitigation of sentence.
Velero David, who owns Meropa Sechabeng Technology, the former executive director of the City’s ICT department Nilesh Singh, and Andrew Mphushomadi, the City’s former chief IT architect, all appeared in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Pretoria on Friday morning.
Defence attorney Andre Steenkamp – acting for Singh, David and his company – told the court that while a report by a government social worker had been completed for mitigation arguments, they had decided not to use this report and had instead hired a private social worker to compile another report.
He added that Singh and David had not yet paid in full for the report, and requested a postponement to finalise the payments to have the report ready for pre-sentencing.
Advocate Piet Pretorius, acting on behalf of Mphushomadi and his company, told the court that they were ready to proceed and that their pre-sentencing reports had been finalised.
Pretorius explained that it would make more sense to postpone the matter so that pre-sentencing arguments could be heard together and not in parts.
State prosecutor Willem van Zyl opposed the postponement in theory, but agreed with the defence that the matter should be heard in one go.
The court acceded to the request and postponed the matter to February 17 and 19 next year.
News24 previously reported that Singh, David and his company had been found guilty on charges of corruption and fraud, relating to tenders by the City of Ekurhuleni, while Mphushomadi and his company were convicted on charges of money laundering and fraud.
They were found guilty of defrauding the municipality of R21.8 million in 2007. Both Singh and Mphushomadi were employed by the City at the time of the offence.
The Hawks and the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) investigated the matter after a tender was awarded to supply and maintain computers in the municipality.
The tender was issued to Meropa Sechabeng Technology CC, which had barely been in existence for 10 months. David was the sole director at the time.
During the bidding process, David had declared that he had no relationship with people in the service of the state, or anyone who may be involved in the evaluation and adjudication of the bid.
However, it later became known that David was related through marriage to Nilesh Singh, the Hawks said. Singh is said to have been instrumental in the awarding of the tender.
Mphushomadi, who is a member of Nanga Transport CC, was also involved in the specifications of the said tender. Shortly after the tender was awarded, Nanga purchased a number of Mercedes Benz trucks, which cost close to R4 million, and paid for it with the money Meropa Sechaba received from the municipality, News24 reported.
Meropa Sechaba also splashed out around R8 million in cash from the tender on 16 luxury vehicles.