Defence in Fort Hare graft case call for matter to be struck off roll

The defence lawyers in the case of 15 people accused of corruption, fraud and racketeering at the University of Fort Hare (UFH) have applied for the case to be struck off the roll.

The application was made on Wednesday by advocate Peter Daubermann, who is representing two of the accused. It was supported by the all the defence lawyers.

Court has no jurisdiction, says defence

The defence is contending that the warrants of arrest of the accused are defective. The Dimbaza magistrates’ court in the Eastern Cape does not have jurisdiction to hear the matter. This according to the defence.

The case was adjourned until tomorrow for judgment on the application by the defence to have the matter struck off the role.

Half of the accused comprise UFH employees. HR director Paul Tladi; head of investigations and vetting Isaac Plaatjies; and acting fleet manager Mbulelo Gingcana. Also manager in the vice-chancellor’s office, Nozuko “Zuki” Mabombo. Finance manager Louis Nkateko Mawila. Senior administrator and PA in Plaatjies’ department Anna Smith. Thamsanqa Sonjica, who’s in the security and protection department.

University staff, service providers among accused

The others are service providers including lawyer Bradley Conradie of law firm Bradley Conradie Halton Cheadle. Anwar Khan of the Pentagon Group. It provides bodyguard services to celebrities. Some of its celebrity clients include slain rapper AKA, Sarah Burger and Wayne van der Haar. Also Graig Retief, Lucrecia Davids and Nthabiseng Makhoba.

Senior cop Terrence Joubert, who worked for the National Prosecuting Authority’s Asset Forfeiture Unit, is also an accused in the UFH case.

Van der Haar and Burger were granted bail of R50,000 each on Tuesday, which the state did not oppose.

Additional charges of murder and attempted murder

Plaatjies abandoned his bail application as he is in custody for charges of murder and attempted murder of UFH employees.

The bail hearing date of the 12 did not continue. This after the defence requested that  magistrate Nontuthuzelo Sontlaba recuse herself. Reason being that she was involved in the murder and attempted murder cases. These cases were interlinked with the corruption, fraud, and racketeering case.

Sontlaba has since recused herself. But the defence asked that she hear their application to strike the matter off the roll.

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