IPTS fraud case to resume in October

                                             Cheeky Watson Picture: Fredlin Adriaan

The fraud and money laundering case against former EP Rugby president Cheeky Watson and his co-accused in respect of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s Integrated Public Transport System (IPTS) has been postponed to October.

Watson, 62, together with Nadia Gerwel, 51, a former assistant director in the metro’s finance department, Zeranza director Andrea Wessels, 40, and Mandisi Mkasa, 55, a former director of Laphum’ilanga Transport Services, all appeared briefly in the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court yesterday.

Also accused is former Access Facilities and Leisure Management chief executive Stephan Pretorius, who was absent by prior arrangement.

Pretorius lives in the Western Cape.

The accused appeared before magistrate Lionel Lindoor, who said the matter had been postponed to October 13 by agreement with all parties.

In the meantime, he ordered that transcripts of the docket be furnished to the defence in preparation for the next appearance.

State advocate Tjaart van Zyl said that following the October court date, the matter could be set down for trial by June or July next year.

All the accused, out on bail of R2 000 each, face charges of fraud and money laundering following a lengthy probe into alleged corrupt activities around the R208million meant for the city’s IPTS.

They handed themselves over at the Mount Road police station on March 31.

It is alleged that Gerwel and Wessels used an events management company, ESP Africa, as a vehicle to launder the money, but when that was no longer viable, they turned to Access, and after that, to EP Rugby.

The IPTS was initiated in the short term to provide public transport during the 2010 Soccer World Cup, and in the long term to provide world-class transport in the city.

But the bus system has been has been riddled with various irregularities over the past seven years and has struggled to get off the ground.

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