Corrupt pair cut deal with state

Posted On Tuesday, 28 March 2006 02:00 Published by
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Housing boss and estate agent agree to pay back proceeds of crime, but still face jail sentences

Property-Housing-ResidentialConvicted KwaZulu-Natal housing boss Mdu Khoza and estate agent Jayandaren Pillay have agreed to pay back the nearly R3-million they acquired through properties bought on behalf of the state at inflated prices.

Khoza and Pillay entered into an agreement with the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) after being found guilty of corruption by the Durban High Court.

In terms of the agreement, Khoza will pay the state R800,000 and curatorship costs, which are still being determined.

Pillay will pay back R278,000.

Judge Herbert Msimang said, overall, the state would receive R2.8-million of the R3-million it was claiming as the proceeds of crime.

Khoza and Pillay were last week both convicted on one count of corruption totalling R800,000.

The pair, who initially faced 23 counts of fraud and one count of corruption, were acquitted on all the fraud charges amounting to R72-million.

The charges related to the money they received in commissions on 25 property deals they made on behalf of the provincial housing department between 2002 and 2003.

Among the properties bought were the Four Seasons Hotel, Palm Beach Hotel, Westpoint Lodge and Palmerston Hotel.

They both face sentences of up to 15 years' imprisonment.

Pleading in mitigation of sentence, Khoza's advocate, Jimmy Howse, asked for a lesser sentence, since his client was the first offender who was engaged to be married and had a nine-year-old son.

"Evidence showed that senior officials in the department were aware of the purchase of the properties. The purchase of the properties was not done with a view to commit corruption. When all of this is added up, it shows that there was no intent to derive benefit from the state," he said.

Howse said Khoza had agreed to make full restitution to the housing department and had signed a confiscation order.

"I don't think that society requires retribution to the tune of 15 years. It has no useful effect other than to clutter our jails. It's my strong submission that 15 years would be inappropriate in this case."

He pleaded with the court to at least suspend half of the sentence on the grounds that Khoza was a first-time offender.

Pillay's attorney. Anand Nepaul, said his client was a "fairly young person" and not a "sophisticated" estate agent when the crime was committed.

"He was relatively inexperienced as an estate agent. He was not even qualified as an estate agent at the time, as he was still a student," he said.

Nepaul said a jail sentence of five to seven years would be appropriate, but suggested that half of the sentence be suspended.

State prosecutor Attie Truter said the fact that the two had not shown any remorse throughout the trial was an aggravating factor.

He said the money the two had agreed to pay back to the state was the proceeds of crime.

Last modified on Saturday, 08 March 2014 10:37

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