PORT ELIZABETH – Disgraced Port Elizabeth bishop Samuel Banzana was on Thursday, sentenced to an effective 12 years behind bars in the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court after he was found guilty of corruption involving R3 million.

Banzana was found guilty earlier in March, on four counts of corruption.

At the time of the crimes between 2004 and 2009, Banzana was the manager of the Mzingisi Development Trust, which African National Congress veteran Govan Mbeki founded. The trust built RDP houses in impoverished areas which included Soweto on Sea, Veeplaas, Westview and Bethelsdorp.

The Asset Forfeiture Unit had since seized his home and three luxury cars worth R2.9 million in total.

In passing down sentence, Magistrate Louis Claassen also ordered Banzana to pay back an outstanding amount of R351,000 to the Criminal Assets Recovery Account. Failure to pay the full amount by Friday, Banzana was ordered to pay interest of 9.5 percent on the amount.

Claassen said that it was clear that Banzana was living in the lap of luxury with the funds he had obtained.

“It is clear that the money was utilised for luxuries and lavish expenses and was not solicited due to a lack of necessities on behalf of the accused and his family,” Claassen said.

Claassen said that Banzana was in a position of trust in which he abused.

He said that he abused his trust in a “ghastly fashion” to enrich not only himself but also other people.

An application for leave to appeal conviction and sentence was dismissed. 

African News Agency