Former South African Cabinet Minister, Connie Mulder, has pleaded not guilty to charges of refusing to testify before a judicial inquiry.
GV EXTERIOR: Magistrate's Court building in Pretoria.
SV: Members of prosecution enter court building.
SV: Former Minister Dr. Connie Mulder speaking to people outside court.
GV: Mulder and defence counsel leaving building after hearing. (2 shots)
MCU: Mulder talking to friends outside.
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Background: Former South African Cabinet Minister, Connie Mulder, has pleaded not guilty to charges of refusing to testify before a judicial inquiry. Dr. Mulder was toppled from his government and party posts by South Africa's so-called 'slush funds' scandal (also known as Muldergate). He has refused to appear a second time before the Erasmus Commission of Inquiry into the scandal and to take the oath before the commission.
SYNOPSIS: The former Minister of Interior and Information was ordered to appear at a Magistrates Court in Pretoria. He gave evidence before the Erasmus Commission early in its inquiry-- but was subpoenaed after he allegedly refused to appear a second time.
The report of the commission, headed by Judge Rudolf Erasmus, disclosed the misuse and misappropriation of millions of rand of secret government funds by the now defunct Information Department. Dr. Mulder -- once responsible for department -- faces a maximum sentence of six months in jail or a one hundred rand (118 U.S. dollars) fine - both if convicted.
The commission's findings--that Mr. Mulder was incompetent and irresponsible in his handling of the information portfolio -- also forced him to resign the leadership of the ruling National Party in the Transvaal Province. But he indicated he plans a political comeback, possibly at the head of a new party.