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News - Date: 13 April 2019
Written by: Elmon Tshikhudo / Viewed: 2611
Curious members of the community filled the Sibasa Regional Court to capacity on Monday.
This was during the much-awaited judgement in the fraud case involving former Muvhango star Joe Ragwala (45), his former lover Doris Mthembi (48) and Nelly Lekgetho (67), a former employee of Limpopo businessman Goddard Mugwena.
The case was postponed once again.
The trio was arrested in 2009 after Mugwena had allegedly discovered the fraud.
The trial started in 2015 and has been postponed many times before and was set for judgement on 8 and 9 April.
During a brief appearance, their case, consisting more than100 counts of fraud, was postponed to early next month for judgement. The presiding magistrate in the case, Mr Jakkie Wessels, was not available to conclude the case.
R1,3 m is said to have been defrauded from Mugwena's business, Injectmed Paramedic College, over a period of four years. The modus operandi was that students who were supposed to pay their fees into the bank account were made to pay cash at the college, which was allegedly taken by the suspects.
Drama ensued outside the court when Ragwala noticed that Mr Vincent Phakula, who has testified as a state witness against him in another case in Giyani, had also attended the court proceedings. Ragwala started hurling insults and screaming at Phakula, alleging that he was the one who had killed his mother, together with Mr Mugwena at Namakgale outside Phalaborwa in 2009.
Mugwena was also threatened with death during the altercation outside the court.
Speaking after the postponement outside the court, Mugwena said that he understood that the postponement as the law must be applied on fact. "I am not worried about the postponement. The proceeding of the trial took five years to be concluded as it started in 2015. The case is very big and involved a number of exhibits. It won’t be easy to conclude a written judgment within a week,” said Mugwena.
Joe Ragwala and Doris Mthembi will join Mr James Ragwala (Joe’s father), Ms Joyce Ragwala (Joe’s sister) and Ms Tintswalo Mhlari (Doris’s sister) next week in the Giyani Regional Court on charges of conspiracy to murder Mugwena.
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Businessman Goddard Mugwena.
Elmon Tshikhudo started off as a photographer. He developed an interest in writing and started submitting articles to local as well as national publications. He became part of the Limpopo Mirror family in 2005 and has since been a familiar name among the newspaper's readers.