Mapisa-Nqakula corruption trial moved to Pretoria High Court

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As expected, the next round of legal action involving former National Assembly (NA) Speaker and one-time defence and military veterans minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula will be in the Gauteng North High Court in Pretoria.

This was the outcome of her appearance in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court yesterday (Tuesday, 9 July) in connection with 12 charges of corruption and one of money laundering. The charges stem from contracts awarded to return SA National Defence Force (SANDF) equipment from peacekeeping missions in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

When she was in the same court last month (June) Mapisa-Nqakula heard prosecutor Bheki Manyathi inform the sitting judge the State was “working on” transferring the case to the High Court in the country’s administrative capital. “The next step is to obtain a High Court date [and] for that purpose, there are logistics so we need to liaise with the roll co-ordinator in the office of the director of public prosecutions.”

A date was found and allocated for her next court appearance, three blocks north of the Magistrate’s Court and confirmed for 16 October, the lower court heard yesterday. An indictment was served on her as defendant. Confirming, Johannesburg daily The Citizen reported “a High Court date in this matter has been secured for pre-trial purposes. The date has been arranged between the State, [the] defence as well as the Clerk of the High Court.”

Her R50 000 bail was extended and she remains without a valid passport, having surrendered it ahead of her first court appearance.

The charges against her stem from contracts awarded to Umkhombe Marine between December 2016 and July 2019 for which Mapisa-Nqakula allegedly solicited bribes of more than R2 million. Attention was drawn to the apparent irregularities by Umkhombe Director and Chief Executive, Nombasa Ndhlovu, at one time chair of the SA Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industries Association (AMD).

Post the court appearance TimesLIVE reported the State as stating of the R4.5 million in kickbacks allegedly requested by Mapisa-Nqakula between December 2016 and July 2019, R2 150 000 was paid in cash and constituted proceeds of unlawful activities as defined in the Prevention of Organised Crime Act. A total of 12 payments were alleged to have been made.