Rubben Mohlaloga, chair of the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA), has received a 20-year prison sentence for money-laundering and fraud linked to a Land Bank scam amounting to R6-million.

Mohlaloga, ANC MP and chair of the parliament’s portfolio committee on agriculture at the time, along with former Land Bank CEO Philemon Mohlahlane and attorney Dinga Rammy Nkhwashu, transferred R6m into the law firm’s trust account from the bank in 2008.

The R6-million was transferred from Agri-BEE, a broad-based BEE framework aimed at supporting black South Africans by helping them participate in the agricultural sector, to Dingwako Farming Projects.

According to Business Day, this money was used to acquire farmland worth R2.3m in 2008 that never ended up being used for agricultural purposes and two BMWs under Mohlaloga’s name. Mohlaloga allegedly paid back some of the money “when he realised he was in trouble”.

Mohlaloga challenged his conviction, saying that they are “bad in law” and “unsupported by the facts”. His lawyers have successfully applied for leave to appeal his sentence and he has been released on bail pending the outcome of the process.

Mohlaloga’s removal from the ICASA board has also been delayed pending the outcome of his appeal, despite ICASA’s policy against allowing anyone convicted of fraud to remain on the board.