Former Cope national treasurer in court again

Former Cope national treasurer in court again

A former national treasurer of the political party, the Congress of the People (Cope), Hildagrade Ndude, appeared in court on Monday on fraud charges.

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She faces 23 counts of fraud, six of money laundering and one of theft.

She appeared in the Specialised Commercial Crime Court in Bellville, before magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg.

She was in the dock with co-accused Irene Motha, who faces three fraud charges.

They have not yet pleaded to the charges, but the defence team, attorneys Mushtak Parker and Charl May, told the court that they were negotiating a plea bargain with the prosecutor, senior State advocate Simon Leope.

Cited in the charge sheet as accused number three was the company Sithaba Holdings (Pty) Ltd, of which Ndude was one of the directors.

The company itself is charged with three counts of money laundering.

According to the charge sheet, Cope had two main sources of funding – from the National Parliament, pro rata the number of seats that the party occupies in Parliament, and from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), for the purposes of functioning within the political sphere in the country.

In both cases, the funding is from taxpayers’ money, both have to have their individual bank accounts, and both are accounted for individually.

Ndude was the principal signatory for both accounts, together with the president of Cope.

According to the charge sheet, Ndude was Cope’s financial political head and, as the national treasurer, had to ensure transparent management of Cope’s affairs.

The state alleges that she and Motha manipulated Cope’s electronic system to divert payments meant for suppliers into their own personal bank accounts, between April 2010 and May 2011.

The plea negotiation, if successful, will be placed before the court on November 23.

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