Thu, 23 May 2019

A councillor convicted of fraud is disqualified from holding office, communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said on Saturday.

She would study the judgment of Independent Communications Authority of SA chairperson Rubben Mohlaloga, who was this week sentenced to 20 years in prison for fraud and money laundering, her office said in a statement.

"The removal process of a disqualified councillor however, entails a National Assembly process and therefore falls outside of the minister's ambit," spokesperson Nthabeleng Mokitimi-Dlamini said.

"The minister is only enabled to suspend a councillor after the commencement of such proceedings which are initiated in terms of Section 8 (2) of the Icasa Act."

Ndabeni-Abrahams would "further engage all relevant stakeholders in this regard" and "noted" Mohlaloga's appeal, Nthabeleng Mokitimi-Dlamini added.

Icasa boss sentenced to 20 years in prison for fraud, money laundering

Mohlaloga was on Thursday sentenced in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court alongside former acting head of the Land Bank Philemon Mohlahlane and attorney Dinga Rammy Nkwashu.

Mohlahlane was sentenced to seven years in prison, while attorney Nkwashu was sentenced to 24 years in prison.

A Parliamentary process began in early 2018 to look into Mohlaloga's fitness to hold office, pending his trial.

Suspension

In May 2018, the portfolio committee recommended that he be suspended, pending the finalisation of his case and his appeal.

The court found that Mohlaloga and his co-accused defrauded the Land Bank of about R6m when he was chairperson of Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Agriculture.

He acted with his accomplices to transfer the money from the Land Bank to an attorney's trust account.

Despite the fraud allegations, Fin24 previously reported that Mohlaloga was appointed to the previous Icasa board in 2013.

He has served as acting chairperson of the Icasa board since 2016.

An application for leave to appeal the sentence was granted for all three accused, who have been released on bail pending proceedings.

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