Portia "Pankie" Sizani is facing 31 counts of fraud and money laundering.(SABC)
The Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes court has heard evidence of how Portia "Pankie" Sizani falsified documents and forged signatures of unsuspecting principals to defraud the Eastern Cape Department of Basic Education. She is the wife of the African National Congress (ANC's) Chief Whip in Parliament, Stone Sizani.
Pankie Sizani was comforted by her mother, her daughter and family members in court, facing 31 counts of fraud and money laundering. Three pre-primary school principals revealed how Sizani masterminded the fraud scandal, by creating ghost teachers and pocketing their salaries worth R1,2 million between 2009 and 2010.
She was the coordinator of the department's Early Childhood Development Programme. The court heard that she'd duped many unsuspecting principals and forged their signatures.
Their schools were cited as having benefited from feeding schemes allegedly arranged by Sizani. She also allegedly signed papers confirming that they received money from the department to pay for teachers at their schools.
The principals told the court that their staff were paid through school fees and they didn't receive any subsidy from the Department of Basic Education.
The court was forced to adjourn until Tuesday due to load shedding.