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PE Court finds Portia 'Pankie' Sizani guilty in R1.2 million fraud and money laundering case

Mar 29, 2019
PE Court finds Portia 'Pankie' Sizani guilty in R1.2 million fraud and money laundering case

Portia  'Pankie' Sizani guilty of defaruding Eastern Cape Department of Education of R1.2 million

Port Elizabeth - The Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court on Friday found Portia 'Pankie' Sizani, who is the wife of former African National Congress (ANC) Chief Whip in Parliament and the country's ambassador to Germany, Stone Sizani, guilty of fraud amounting to R1.2 million.

It was the State's allegation that Sizani, who was arrested back in 2012,  defrauded the Eastern Cape Department of Education out of more than R1.2 million by processing several fraudulent applications for Grade R teaching posts.

Apparently, she would somehow get the personal details of teachers and apply for posts on their behalf -  even falsifying school principals’ signatures approving the posts.

When the Eastern Cape Deprtment of Education paid the teachers salaries, Sizani would allegedly show up and claim that a mistake had been made and the money should be transferred to her account as she worked for the Department as an Early Childhood Development (ECD) District Co-ordinator at the time.

Fraud and money laundering case against Portia Sizani

The State alleged that she would convert these monies for her own personal use and the fraud went on between 2009 and 2010.

Sizani tried, but failed to force Magistrate Mputumi Mpofu to recuse himself from the fraud trial accusing him of bias as his wife was employed by the Eastern Cape Department of Education.

Magistrate Mpofu argued that his wife had stopped working for the department in 2013, when the trial began. It had been delayed after Sizani cited illness.

In February 2016, the court cleared her of five of the 15 counts of money laundering against her as witnesses on those cases could not be traced.

However, she still faced 16 counts of fraud and 10 of money laundering.

Guilty verdict against Portia Sizani

In lengthy judgement proceedings that began on Thursday, Magistrate Mpofu finally delivered his ruling on the matter on Friday morning.

He found Sizani guilty on 15 counts of fraud and nine counts of money laundering.

At the time of publishing, the court was hearing about whether she could be afforded bail after the conviction.

Sizani had been out on bail since 2013. her lawyer said that she currently resides in Germany with her husband and children and was coming to South Africa for the trial.

More to follow...

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