Lawyers representing three former Department of Labour’s Compensation Fund (CF) employees found guilty in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court for fraud have on Friday argued for mercy in the interest of their clients.
Their arguments coincided with sentencing reports by Correctional Services and Probation Officers.
Magistrate found Maxwell Ramaphosa, Samuel Mfeleng, Kgabo and Johanna Methi guilty on May 30. 2018 for swindling the Department’s Compensation Fund of R476 150, 58.
The court found Ramaphosa and Mfeleng guilty on 10 counts of fraud and money laundering while it found Methi guilty on three counts of fraud.
The trio were remanded in custody.
Lawyer representing Ramaphosa, Mushwana appealed to the State to exercise an “element of fairness” in sentencing the accused.
T\he lawyer representing Mfeleng and Methi said the Court should consider Correctional supervision and community service as alternative punishments.
The court found the three former officials of the Department of Labour’s Compensation Fund guilty of colluding with a physiotherapist Dr Jones
They used fictitious claims, channelling the money into Dr Modau’s account and a friend’s Driving School account which they later shared among themselves.
Dr Modau pleaded guilty in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crime Court and the court transferred his fellow accused to the Pretoria Magistrates’ Court for a separate of trial.
The court sentenced him to three years of correctional supervision [house arrest], but only allowed [house arrest], him go to work and a church and a further three years imprisonment, suspended for five years.
On a charge of money laundering, they sentenced him to two- years suspended for a five-year.
In another matter, Ramaphosa and Mfeleng were in 2016 found guilty for defrauding the Department’s Compensation Fund for R2,1-million.
Magistrate sentenced the pair to 10 years imprisonment, wholly suspended for five years
The legal representatives argued that the court should not use a suspended sentence handed in 2016 as a previous conviction because the criminal matter before the court and the one that led to it committed such conviction at the same time.
The lawyers argued that the Court should consider that the accused have dependants who relied on them for survival.
Prosecutor Margaret Thulare said the State should impose a heavy prison sentence to send a strong message to criminals and would-be criminals.
During the trial it emerged that Ramaphosa and Methi were masterminds in a syndicate(s) defrauding the Compensation Fund.
The trial has been going on for the past eight years.
The sentencing proceedings will be heard on December 4.