- The Washington Times - Friday, October 19, 2001

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the ex-wife of former President Nelson Mandela, was arrested yesterday and charged with 85 counts of fraud and theft involving more than $100,000.

The charges stem from a suspected scam to obtain bank loans for nonexisting employees of the African National Congress (ANC) Women's League.

Mrs. Madikizela-Mandela is the president of the league and a member of parliament. She faced 60 counts of fraud involving $103,605 and 25 counts of theft involving $1,040 that was supposed to have been deposited into a funeral insurance plan.

Authorities said Mrs. Madikizela-Mandela and Addy Moolman, a broker described as her financial adviser, negotiated a deal with a bank last year to secure loans for women's league employees.

Sixty persons falsely claiming to be league employees then obtained loans from the bank, authorities said, using letters on league stationery confirming their employment.

Most of those letters were signed by Mrs. Madikizela-Mandela, authorities said.

Prosecutor Jan Ferreira said $61,000 later was deposited into Mrs. Madikizela-Mandela's personal accounts. Those accounts have since been frozen.

Mr. Moolman also was charged in the case, surrendered to police in June and was in custody awaiting a Nov. 20 hearing.

Insisting Mrs. Madikizela-Mandela earned only $1,888 a month, her attorney, Bartlett Hewu, argued that she should not have to pay bail.

Mr. Hewu then claimed that his client spent an average of $8,000 dollars a month additional money, he explained, that came as gifts from well-wishers and supporters.

An anti-apartheid hero, Mrs. Madikizela-Mandela is wildly popular with many poor urban blacks. However, she often is criticized by President Thabo Mbeki and senior ANC officials, who call her self-promoting and insubordinate and say her administrative disinterest has led to the deterioration of the women's league.

Mrs. Madikizela-Mandela, who had arrived at the Commercial Crimes Court in a luxury car, was later released. She claims that the charges are part of a campaign against her by enemies within the ANC "to perpetuate what was started by the apartheid regime."

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