JOHANNESBURG, February 15 – The chairman of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa Manyaba Rubben Mohlaloga has been sentenced to 20 years in jail for defrauding the Land Bank of R6 million in a case dating back to 2012.
Business Day reported that his lawyers successfully applied for leave to appeal the sentence in the specialised commercial crimes court in Pretoria.
Mohlaloga, who was then an African National Congress legislator and chairperson of parliament’s portfolio committee on agriculture, was found guilty of conspiring with then Land Bank CEO Philemon Radichaba Mohlahlane and Dinga Rammy Nkhwashu of law firm Masepula Dinga Attorneys to transfer R6 million into the law firm’s trust account from the bank in 2008.
The money was transferred from Agri-BEE, a broad-based black economic empowerment facility intended to help black South Africans actively participate in the agricultural sector.
Investigators said contrary to what the application stated, the money was never used to benefit farm workers or upcoming farmers, but rather for the personal benefit of the accused, who shared the cash among themselves.
They were all found guilty of fraud and money laundering in contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act in January last year.
Mohlahlane was sentenced to seven years in prison for his role in the scam, while Nkhwashu received a 24-year sentence. His law firm was ordered to pay a fine of R50,000, Business Day reported.
Both Mohlahlane and Nkhwashu were also granted leave to appeal their sentences and released on bail. All were arrested by elite police department the Hawks’ serious corruption crime unit in October 2012 after a case was opened in Pretoria. (ANA)