PORT ELIZABETH, April 26 – Convicted fraudster, African National Congress (ANC) councillor Bongo Nombiba from Nelson Mandela Bay was jailed for five years in the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court on Thursday.
Nombiba, a ward 20 councillor, was convicted in March on charges of fraud and money laundering after he pocketed R20 000 of donation money meant for a non-governmental organisation rendering services to the elderly.
In handing down sentence, Magistrate Johannes Claassen said that Nombiba showed a clear lack of remorse and abused his position of trust.
Claassen said the offences were serious, in that Nombiba was an officer bearer and the NGO staff were made out to be liars during the trial.
During sentencing proceedings, Nombiba’s lawyer Luthando Ngqakayi asked for a lesser sentence than jail time, saying that he was a breadwinner for his family.
Ngqakayi said that Nombiba had tried his best to serve the community and the fact that he was re-elected meant that the community had faith in him.
However, State prosecutor Willhelm De Villiers said the offence amounted to greed not need.
“He is employed by the people and he deprived the people. He showed no sign of remorse and this was to enrich himself.”
“It’s a despicable act he committed, he is a leader in the community and this is the way he treats them. He used them,” said De Villiers.
Nombiba netted around R40 000 a month as a ward councillor.
The Thulamangwane Community Project is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) and renders services such as caring for elderly people and cleaning schools in the community.
In 2014, the NGO’s secretary, Zukiswa Mbhem, and its deputy chairperson, Mandisa Monco, together with other members, approached Nombiba to request a donation of R10 000 from the municipality to assist them financially.
The councillor instructed the NGO members to put their request in writing but not to mention the amount that they had requested.
During September 2014, a “Request for Donation” was prepared and signed by both the secretary as well as deputy chairperson.
The request was for a donation and no amount was indicated. Nombiba then sent a request for financial assistance from the Metro and motivated a donation of R 30 000 for the organisation.
During November 2014, an amount of R30 000 was paid into the bank account of the NGO. Nombiba conveyed to the NGO management that the Metro approved the donation and requested them to accompany him to the bank where he pocketed R20 000 of the money.
ANC members attended court proceedings on Thursday to support Nombiba. His long time girfriend broke down in tears after he was sentenced.
ANC Nelson Mandela Bay treasurer Mbulelo Gidani apologised to the residents of the city.
Gidani said that the ANC was remorseful for what had happened. On Nombiba’s position within the party, a report will now be filed and sent to the ANC provincial leadership.