Dr. Eschel Rhoodie, South Africa's former Secretary of Information, has been sentenced to six years?
Dr. Eschel Rhoodie, South Africa's former Secretary of Information, has been sentenced to six years imprisonment for his part in what has become known as the "Muldergate" scandal. Rhoodie was found guilty in the Pretoria Supreme Court on five counts of fraud involving almost one hundred million dollars (U.S.). The scandal, which has rocked South African politics for more than a year, led to the downfall of South Africa's President, John Vorster, and toppled former Cabinet minister, Dr. Connie Mulder.
SYNOPSIS: Rhoodie's trial began in the Pretoria Supreme Court on September 21st, shortly after he had been extradited from his self-imposed exile in the south of France. Dr. Connie Mulder, another of the "slush funds" casualties, was one of the main witnesses at the trial. Dr. Mulder supported Rhoodie's claims that normal financial arrangements were not possible when dealing with secret schemes.
Crowds had packed the square outside the Supreme Court, hopping to hear more sensational revelations of the inner workings of the South African government. However the crowds were disappointed. Rhoodie had threatened to make major disclosures - disclosure that would cause embarrassment within the government, but the closest he came to making good his threat was his acknowledgement of a plan to promote relations between South Africa and Western Jews. Rhoodie's wife Katie flew into South Africa yesterday (8 October) for the sentencing, however she had nothing to say to reporters outside the courthouse.
Rhoodie has now been granted bail, and intends to appeal against the verdict - probably sometime early next year. However, South Africans are still waiting to see whether the government intends to take legal actions against anyone else.