Moerane case may also falter

The corruption and money laundering case against former Eastern Cape social development MEC Neo Moerane for her alleged role in the Max Mamase land deal scam faces being scuppered as well.

Moerane, 53, and her ex-husband Mamase – the MEC for agriculture at the time – were originally charged after he pushed through the Agriculture Department the dodgy R15.6-million Kangela deal to purchase land in the Addo district from deceased Cape Town businessman Norman Benjamin.

The state alleges they received payments totalling R360 000 from Benjamin and his associate Emiliya Peneva towards the purchase of a R2.7-million house in Nahoon, East London.

The Zwelitsha Magistrate’s Court postponed Moerane’s case to March 13 for the deputy director of public prosecutions to make a decision on representations by her lawyer, Mathew Moodley. The court has also heard that prosecutors are struggling to trace Peneva, regarded as a key witness in the case against Moerane. Peneva reportedly emigrated to Australia a few years ago.

Mamase faced charges of corruption, fraud, money laundering and contravention of the Public Finance Management Act for his role in setting up the scam with Benjamin.

The case against him folded after a panel of three medical professionals from Fort England Hospital in Grahamstown found his mental state after a series of strokes made him incapable of standing trial and defending himself. A magistrate found late last year that he had probably committed the acts for which he was charged.

With Mamase off the hook and Moerane’s case postponed for a final time, the 10-year-long saga may be reaching the end of the road.

-Ray Hartle

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