Mfeleng and Methi trial found guilty of defrauding workers Fund
Legal representatives for the three former employees of the Department of Labour’s Compensation Fund (CF) found guilty of fraud today pleaded for leniency on behalf of their clients in the Pretoria Magistrates’ Court.
Defence pleads for 'mercy' and minimum sentencing in the Ramaphosa, Mfeleng and Methi trial found guilty of defrauding the workers Fund
Legal representatives for the three former employees of the Department of Labour's Compensation Fund (CF) found guilty of fraud today pleaded for leniency on behalf of their clients in the Pretoria Magistrates' Court.
The legal representatives were making arguments in mitigation of sentence. Their arguments also coincided with the submission of sentencing reports by Correctional Services and Probation Officers.
The lawyers were making a submission in the trial of Mr Maxwell Ramaphosa, Mr Samuel Mfeleng, and Ms Kgabo Johanna Methi who were on 30 May 2018 found guilty for defrauding the Department's Compensation Fund of R476 150, 58.
Ramaphosa and Mfeleng were found guilty on 10 counts of fraud and money laundering, and Methi was found guilty on three counts of fraud.
The three accused have been remanded in custody.
A lawyer representing Ramaphosa, Mr Mushwana appealed to the State to exercise an "element of fairness" in sentencing the accused.
The lawyer representing Mfeleng and Methi said the Court should consider Correctional supervision and community service as alternative punishments.
The three former officials of the Department of Labour's Compensation Fund were found guilty of colluding with a physiotherapist Dr Jones Mothemola Modau by siphoning the Compensation Fund using fictitious claims and channelling the money into Modau's account and a friend's Driving School account which would later be shared.
Dr Modau pleaded guilty in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crime Court and his fellow accused matter was transferred to the Pretoria Magistrates' Court in a separation of a trial.
Modau was handed multiple suspended sentences by the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court for defrauding the Department of Labour's Compensation Fund.
He was sentenced to three years of correctional supervision (house arrest), but allowed to go to work and church. On the same charge of fraud, he was also handed a further three years - suspended for five years - on condition that he does not commit any theft or fraud during the next five years. On a charge of money laundering, he was sentenced to two-years suspended for a five-year period.
In another matter, Ramaphosa and Mfeleng were in 2016 found guilty for defrauding the Department's Compensation Fund R2,1-million and were handed 10 years imprisonment wholly suspended for five years by the Pretoria Magistrates' Court.
The legal representatives said a suspended sentence handed in 2016 should not be used as a previous conviction because the criminal matter before the Court and the one that led to such conviction were committed at the same time. The lawyers argued that the Court should consider that the accused have dependants who relied on them for survival.
Prosecutor Margaret Thulare said the State should impose a heavy prison sentence to send a strong message to criminals and would-be criminals.
During the trial, it emerged that Ramaphosa and Methi were masterminds in a syndicate(s) defrauding the Compensation Fund. The trial has been going on for the past eight years.
The sentencing proceedings will proceed on December 4.
The Compensation Fund is a public entity under the administration of the Department of Labour. The Compensation Fund provides cover to workers injured and/or who contract diseases at work.
(With Inputs from South African Government Press Release)