French tax

Another delay in France Hlakudi tax evasion case as legal aid request approved

France Hlakudi during a previous court appearance.

The R30 million tax evasion case against former Eskom top executive for investment contracts, France Hlakudi, has been postponed again so that his new lawyer can get up to speed on the facts of the affair.

Hlakudi previously told the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria that he would represent himself at trial, but later changed his mind to seek legal aid. On Tuesday, his candidacy was approved.

His court-appointed lawyer will then represent him in court on June 15, when the case resumes. But it can again be postponed to give his lawyer more time to consult with his client.

The state has charged Hlakudi with 44 fraud and tax evasion charges, some dating back to 2005, related to his companies Hlakudi Translation and Interpretation, Coxinel Chicken and Bon Services Telcom. He accused him of failing to file tax returns for the three companies, failing to register them for VAT, or falsely claiming that they had no income.

Hlakudi is also one of five defendants in another multi-million rand fraud case linked to the Kusile power station in Mpumalanga. He and his co-defendants are charged with fraud, corruption and money laundering in connection with contracts worth R745 million at the power station.

The Kusile case has also experienced repeated delays caused by Hlakudi’s change of attorney.

At the most recent hearing, in early May, Hlakudi’s lawyer asked the court to remove him from his duties as legal representative because Hlakudi had failed to pay him. The case was adjourned to early August.

Get the biggest business stories sent by e-mail every day of the week.

Go to the Front page of Fin24.

We live in a world where fact and fiction collide

In times of uncertainty, you need trusted journalism. For 14 days free, you can access a world of in-depth analysis, investigative journalism, leading opinion and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter, you will be charged R75 per month. You can cancel at any time and if you cancel within 14 days you will not be charged.