Monday, 17 June, 2024
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Digital Vibes graft accused closes testimony without calling witnesses

Digital Vibes corruption accused Lizeka Tonjeni is sticking to her story that part of the R160 000 deposited into her account was payment for healthcare products she’d sold as a sideline, and that the balance was “loans”.

The Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA) employee on trial for allegedly accepting a R160 000 bribe from Digital Vibes closed her case in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Pretoria last week without calling any witnesses to corroborate her version.

News24 reports that Tonjeni – who was a project manager in the office of the chief executive at the time – is charged with one count of corruption relating to a controversial R3.9m tender awarded to Digital Vibes in 2018.

She had received several payments from the company, which the state alleges were bribes to further its interests.

Previously, after the state closed its case, Tonjeni failed to have the matter dismissed via a Section 174 discharge application, and then opted to testify in her defence.

While she did not deny receiving money from Digital Vibes, she insisted it was for two loans as well as healthcare products worth R60 000 that she sold to Tahera Mather.

A report by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) showed Mather – a close friend of disgraced former Health Minister Zweli Mkhize – is one of the actual owners of Digital Vibes, even though the company is registered in the name of a petrol station manager in Stanger.

Tonjeni said she ran a side business selling healthcare products which she bought from a company named Zija International, and while overseeing the communications project awarded to Digital Vibes, had spent time with Mather because they worked in the same office.

When she heard that Mather's mother was sick, she recommended that Mather buy the products – which Mather did, and then later, bought other products as well.

Regarding the “loans”, Tonjeni said these were for a farm business that she wanted to start.

Closing her case, she did not call any witnesses to corroborate her story of running a second business and her plans to buy a farm, nor did she call Mather to testify about the healthcare products or loans.

The matter was postponed for the defence to get the full transcripts of the trial, so they could draft their closing arguments.

 

News24 article – Digital Vibes: Corruption accused closes case without calling witnesses to corroborate her version (Restricted access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

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

 

Tribunal dismisses Digital Vibes beneficiaries’ bid to avoid scrutiny

 

Mkhize says ‘no evidence’ implicating him in Digital Vibes scandal

 

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