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55 fraud charges for Owen and Co

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MANZINI- Former Manzini City Council Mayor, Owen Nxumalo and six others have been charged with a total of 55 counts of fraud of over E4 million.

Yesterday, the seven suspects, Jabulani Shongwe, Mkhuleko Mavuso, Ntsetselelo Shongwe, Simphiwe Bhembe, Vusi Mabizela, and Nonhlanhla Simelane and Nxumalo appeared before Principal Magistrate David Khumalo where they were remanded into custody until September 8, 2010.

They are accused of committing fraud at Standard Bank Matsapha branch.

Three companies directed by the suspects have also been indicted and these include GNSB Holdings, Roja Investment and LuShongwe Investments.

The suspects came to court in a white police kombi accompanied by officers from the Manzini Fraud unit.

Nxumalo was dressed in a formal suit while the only female suspect, Simelane, was wearing a yellow jacket which she used to try conceal her identity. The other suspects were casually dressed and looked tense as they ascended the steps from the holding cells to the courtroom.

However, Nxumalo managed to beam a smile to the direction of his relatives who had come to the court.

During their brief court appearance, the suspects spent sometime in the courtroom trying to stand in order of their appearance in the charge sheet.

The principal magistrate also came down hard on the suspects after they tried to talk to some of their relatives while standing in the accused dock. He said if they behaved in this way he would deal with them harshly.

Nxumalo’s wife was also present in court as well as other relatives who had come to support the suspects during the appearance. The suspects were not in handcuffs and were also not on board a vehicle with police registration numbers.

All the suspects face counts of fraud or alternatively theft charges.

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