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Corruption accused in Digital Vibes case to hear fate in May

The magistrate presiding over the corruption trial of former Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (Misa) employee Lizeka Tonjeni, accused of accepting a R160 000 bribe from controversial communications company Digital Vibes, has postponed the case to next month, saying she needed more time.

Tonjenini, who has pleaded not guilty, appeared in the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court for judgment on Monday, but Magistrate Nicola Setshoege said she had identified some issues that needed more clarification, reports News24.

The date has been moved to 26 May.

Tonjeni is accused of accepting the bribe to further Digital Vibes’ interests while she was the project manager of a R3.9m communications contract awarded to the company in 2018.

During the trial, the state led evidence that the company, through Tahera Mather, had made 18 payments to Tonjeni over two years.

An SIU report found Mather was one of the owners of Digital Vibes even though the director was listed as Radha Hariram, a petrol station manager in Stanger, KwaZulu-Natal. The other was Naadirah Mitha.

State advocate Willem Van Zyl said bank records proved that money Misa had paid to Digital Vibes was transferred to several other accounts, including an FNB account belonging to a company named Composite Trade and Investments, linked to Mather.

From there, it is alleged, Tonjeni was paid money from Digital Vibes’ bank account and Composite Trade and Investments.

While she was only charged in relation to eight payments, 10 more payments came to light during the trial. Between December 2018 and August 2020, the eight payments to her Capitec account amounted to R160 000.

The further 10 payments, made within the same timeframe, amounted to R34 700.

Misa’s records show she made no financial disclosures between 2018 and 2020.

In her defence, Tonjeni said she ran a side business buying and reselling healthcare products for Zija International, and that Mather was a client who had brought the products from her for R94 600.

Mather also gave her two R50 000 loans, she said, for a “farming business” she wanted to establish in the Eastern Cape. The loan has yet to be paid back.

At the time, Misa fell under the Department of Co-operative Governance & Traditional Affairs, of which Zweli Mkhize was Minister.

Mather was Mkhize’s spokesperson at one stage.

Digital Vibes has also been the subject of an investigation into a R150m Health Department tender.

 

News24 article – Govt employee accused of accepting bribe from Digital Vibes will learn her fate in May (Restricted access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

Digital Vibes accused dismissed after disciplinary hearing

 

Employee in court for alleged ‘kickback’ from Digital Vibes tender

 

Digital Vibes graft accused closes testimony without calling witnesses

 

 

 

 

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