A Department of Transport official has found himself in hot water for ignoring court instructions to testify as part of a criminal fraud case at the Middelburg Commercial Crimes Court in Mpumalanga.

In June 2016, the main defendant in the case is alleged to have fraudulently used the Department of Transportation’s title to find suppliers.

After the vendor bought and delivered the purchased assets, the suspect disappeared without paying her.

The victim waited for payment but did not receive anything, after which he contacted the Department of Transportation, but was told that the department had not ordered anything.

The case has been referred to the Middelburg Serious Commercial Crime Inquiry for further investigation.

During the investigation, the accused was detained, then released on bail and is still in court.

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Witnesses were called and testified in court, and only one potential witness from the Department of Transportation was called to testify, but she would not budge.

Mpumalanga Hawks provincial spokesperson Captain Dineo Sekgotodi said in a statement that an investigator had gone to the department to serve a potential witness J32 with a subpoena to appear in court to testify.

“Then she refused and told the investigator to take the subpoena to the court and drop it to the prosecutor, because she would not come. She went on to say that she was no longer interested in the case and the prosecutor should stop calling or emailing her,” she said.

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The case was adjourned to July 25, 2022 for her to appear in court, but she failed to appear and a judge issued a warrant for her arrest that day.

The 45-year-old official was arrested on Friday for contempt of court pending her first trial on Monday at the Middelburg Commercial Crimes Court and remains in custody.

“No one is above the law. The arrest should serve as a reminder to others that witnesses are required to appear in court to testify, not at their discretion. Any witness who subverts the trial will be charged,” said the head of Hawkes province, Major General Zodwa Makoena.

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