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Bobby Motaung

Bobby, Dladla and others off-the-hook

Kaizer Chiefs soccer boss Bobby Motaung and his co-accused were given a breather on Monday when two cases were provisionally withdrawn for the State to get “its house in order”.
They appeared before two different magistrates in the Nelspruit regional court for two fraud and corruption cases totally R1 billion. The two cases involve charges related to the construction of the Mbombela Stadium for the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup.
In both cases, the magistrates were critical of the State’s lack of readiness and delays attributed to “a war” within the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
“The justice system warrants everyone a speedy trial without prejudice. I don’t know how much these accused are paying but it seems they have been prejudiced in many ways,” said Magistrate Roelf Smith, who presided over one case involving R143 million. “So, looking at the number of postponements and court orders issued, there has been no compliance, the case will be struck off the roll and that state will come back when everything is well on its side.”
The first case involved Motaung, his business partner Herbert Theledi, and former Lefika Emerging Equity CEO Chris Grib.
Before the case was thrown out of court, state prosecutor Advocate Patrick Nkuna asked for a postponement so that he could “sort out issues” regarding a high court date with the defence team.
He told the court that the reason no high court date was available was because while the Deputy Director of the Public Prosecutions in the commercialised crime branch of the NPA signed an indictment saying the case should go to high court, there were contradictory developments.
“I asked them to provide suitable dates in the high court and witnesses, but I got information that last week the defence met with my superiors on behalf of accused number two (Motaung) the defence asked my superiors to have the matter struck of the roll and on behalf of accused number one (Theledi) the defence asked my superiors to have me removed from the case,” said Nkuna.
He said in June he got a letter from a member of the NPA saying the matter couldn’t be sent to the high court, but would be tried in the regional court.
“However, the deputy director of the commercialised branch signed the indictment for the case to go to high court and now this shows his letter was undermined. I hope this will not bring my job on the line, (but) there is war within the NPA because now we have two contradictory letters from the NPA,” said Nkuna.
The defence asked the court to not grant any further postponement because their clients are being prejudiced by the states’ postponements and court orders, which are not being honoured.
“This is the mockery of justice, the state admitting itself that there’s a problem within the NPA, then we are asking the court to strike the case off the roll and let the state sort its house and they can maybe come again,” said Motaung’s lawyer Advocate Laurence Hodes.
When the magistrate ruled that the case be struck off the roll, there were loud cheers and clapping of hands and Motaung and his co-accused hugged.
“I know the media will ignore this. Write that I am free,” said Bobby as he went to attend the second case.
In the other case, involving R920 million, Magistrate Eddie Hall struck the case off the roll, also instructing the State to “get its house in order.”
“This court is taking a decision to strike the court off the roll to allow the state to do their part first and they can come to this court with a letter from the director of public prosecutions when they are ready,” said Hall.
The case involved Motaung, Theledi, Gribb, Gribb’s former lawyer Michael Romanos, former Mbombela municipal manager Jacob Dladla, and former Ehlanzeni district municipality technical services manager Tebogo Kubeka.
During the proceedings of the case, which was heard in regional court one, Nkuna told the court that he was able to give contents of the dockets to the defence, which was later denied by the defence.
This after the court postponed the case in April to June 24 and gave the state a court order to give the defence team contents of the docket in hard copies after compact discs given to the state couldn’t be opened.
“I have given the accused the contents of the docket. I can confirm that we posted the copies to the defence in Pretoria, but they were later returned to us. I also got information from other members of the defence that they were able to open the contents of the dockets from the compact discs,” said Nkuna.
However, the defence rubbished Nkuna’s claims and labelled him a liar.
“We are asking this court not to grant further postponements. Our clients were arrested in this court with big media blitz and they were embarrassed, and now the state comes to this court and lie.
“There was an order in this court that the contents be given in hard copies and that order has been ignored, what is the reason to give orders if this court can’t hold anybody defying it accountable,” said Motaung’s lawyer Kenny Oldwage.
Oldwage said the state has been saying it was ready for trial, but it was clearly not.
After a number of breaks and arguments from the state and the defence, Magistrate Eddie Hall also struck the case off the roll.
“The disclosure of the contents of the docket, in hard copies was a court order and nobody has to change that, even the state or the attorney. There the state didn’t comply with the court order…,” said Hall, striking the case off the roll.
Outside court Kubeka and Dladla’s lawyer, who also doubled as Motaung’s legal team advisor, Zola Majavu, told journalists that he nearly collapsed when Nkuna earlier told the first court that there’s war in the NPA.
“I almost fell from my chair when the prosecutor say there’s war in the NPA and a power struggle. This is a sad day for the NPA, it’s a big embarrassment. We are very happy with the decision from the court; they have seen that we are being prejudiced and the NPA is not doing well,” said Majavu.

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