The Hawks say they believe the arrest of Cheeky Watson and four others implicated in large-scale misuse of Nelson Mandela Bay funds is a breakthrough in ongoing investigations into corruption in the metro.
And while the arrests were lauded by some, Watson, 62, and his co-accused are adamant they will be vindicated before long.
“The charges brought against me today [yesterday] are fake,” Watson, the former EP Rugby president, said. “I never handled the money in question nor benefited one cent.
I am shocked therefore to be dragged to court on charges that bear no relation to reality.”
He said he had never handled or benefited from the money allegedly misappropriated from the beleaguered Integrated Public Transport System (IPTS), and called the charges against him a witch-hunt as a result of a hidden agenda against him.
“I am completely innocent. I have reserved the right to sue for malicious prosecution and defamation.
The people behind the scene who are responsible for this are on the verge of being exposed and will be held accountable,” Watson said.
His defence attorney, Danie Gouws, said they had already appointed top senior counsel to work on the case. Watson’s co-accused, Nadia Gerwel, 51, a former senior financial official with the municipality, also says her name will be cleared.
Commenting on behalf of Gerwel, defence attorney Danie Gouws said his client had done nothing wrong and she would be found innocent.
Gerwel was among a host of city officials implicated in the forensic report compiled by former National Prosecuting Authority boss Vusi Pikoli as having cost the metro millions of rands on projects related to the IPTS.
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