Sox to appeal against conviction

Jail time awaits if court bid fails and he does not pay R100 000 for tender fraud

Disgraced former municipal official Sox Nkanjeni will appeal against his fraud conviction after being sentenced to a massive R100 000 fine by the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court.

If his appeal does not succeed and Nkanjeni fails to pay up on December 1, he will have to spend three years behind bars.

Nkanjeni, 49, was suspended as Nelson Mandela Bay municipal assistant supply chain management director shortly after the allegations came to light. He was eventually fired in October,

In March, he was found guilty of conspiring with businessman Mnyamezeli Dyala, 57, a former Nafcoc regional president, to ensure that Dyala’s company, Trade Lane Brokerage CC, was awarded a contract advertised by the municipality in March 2010.

The tender was for the supply and erection of fencing material.

Dyala was also fined R100 000 (or three years’ imprisonment).

Nkanjeni, represented by Advocate Terry Price SC, who took over his defence at a late stage, has indicated that he will appeal against the conviction after magistrate Louis Claassen granted him leave to appeal to the Grahamstown High Court.

Nkanjeni declined to comment further yesterday.

Claassen deferred Nkanjeni’s and Dyala’s sentences to December 1, giving them time to come up with the R200 000.

Both were also declared unfit to possess a firearm.

In finding them guilty in March, Claassen accepted the state’s version that Nkanjeni studied all the tender applications and then edited the price schedule of Trade Lane Brokerage to ensure that its prices were a few rands cheaper than its competitors.

In addition, and to help Dyala’s application, he supplemented details where they were missing, and failed to allocate points due to the competing companies.

It was found that Nkanjeni and Dyala communicated telephonically numerous times during this period, sometimes late at night or early in the morning.

Claassen dismissed Nkanjeni’s version that there was bad blood between himself and his employer and that the charges were due to a conspiracy.

Save for Nkanjeni’s taking the stand, neither accused called any witnesses to testify in their defence.

While there was no direct evidence connecting Nkanjeni or Dyala to the fraud, Claassen said, and that state advocate Ulrike de Klerk had relied on circumstantial evidence for the most part, all the state witnesses had impressed him.

In applying for leave to appeal, Price submitted that there was a reasonable prospect of another court coming to a different conclusion.

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