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Bank fraud: Winnie Mandela guilty

From CNN Johannesburg Bureau Chief Charlayne Hunter-Gault

Madikizela-Mandela: Tarnished reputation
Madikizela-Mandela: Tarnished reputation

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PRETORIA, South Africa (CNN) -- Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the former wife of Nelson Mandela, has been found guilty of fraud and theft by a court in Pretoria, South Africa.

Madikizela-Mandela, 64, and her broker, Addy Moolman, were convicted on all charges Thursday in connection with a bogus bank loan scandal. Details of the sentence are expected on Friday.

There was tight security at the packed courtroom as magistrate Peet Johnson and two other assessors delivered the unanimous verdicts after a nine-month trial.

Madikizela-Mandela and Moolman, who had denied the charges and testified in their own defense, were convicted of trying to obtain loans for members of the African National Congress Women's League, which Madikizela-Mandela chairs.

She signed up to 50 letters for loans, but the ANC Women's League has only eight employees.

The theft convictions related to funeral policies which were never underwritten.

Prosecutors said the defendants fraudulently tried to obtain about one million rand ($130,000).

Johnson told the court the "accused had direct intent to defraud the bank."

Dubbed "the Mother of the Nation" for her campaign against South Africa's apartheid regime, Madikizela-Mandela maintained she had been duped into participating in a fraud scheme she knew nothing about.

The case was the latest in a string of controversies that tarnished her image, both during her former husband's 27 years of imprisonment and after his release as he rebuilt his political career and became South African president. The couple divorced in 1996.

In 1991 she was convicted of kidnapping and being an accessory to assault in connection with the death of a 14-year-old township activist.

She received a six-year prison term which was reduced to a fine after she appealed against the sentence.


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