Rubben Mohlaloga's suspension up in the air
Despite concerted efforts to have communications minister Nomvula Mokonyane suspend the regulatory authority's disgraced chairperson, Rubben Mohlaloga, her hands remain tied.
Last month, Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Communications recommended to the National Assembly that Mokonyane suspend Mohlaloga as chairperson of the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) council.
The communications committee said its recommendation, which is in line with Section 8 of the ICASA Act, is based on the guilty judgement against Mohlaloga on charges of fraud and money laundering.
However, the fraud-convicted chairperson is contesting the guilty judgement against him. As a result, reports The Star, the minister cannot suspend him just yet.
"Soon after the parliamentary process to remove the chairperson was initiated, the minister commenced with the process to suspend him. But both the parliamentary and suspension processes were interdicted by the chairperson by way of an urgent application brought before the Western Cape High Court," the newspaper cites Mokonyane's spokesperson.
Mohlaloga, whose appointment as chairperson of the ICASA council came into effect on 1 December 2017, was found guilty of fraud and money laundering by a specialised commercial crimes court in Pretoria in January.
When Mohlaloga joined ICASA as a councillor in July 2013, he had already been charged with defrauding the Land Bank. Even though he was facing fraud charges, his appointment as chairperson was still approved.
The chairperson and his co-accused, which includes former Land Bank CEO Philemon Mohlahlane and other accomplices, conspired and transferred R6 million from the Land Bank into Masepule Dinga Attorneys' trust account, according to the Hawks.
After the R6 million was received, say the Hawks, the funds were distributed and a farm was bought for R2 million, as well as an X5 BMW and a BMW 118i for Mohlaloga, who was a member of Parliament and chairperson of the Portfolio Committee of Agriculture at the time.
Meanwhile, the National Prosecuting Authority has said sentencing proceedings have been postponed to 28 August.