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Malema takes charges seriously - lawyer

The former ANC Youth League leader vows to co-operate with the authorities.

Expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema appears in the Polokwane Regional Court in Limpopo on Wednesday, 26 September 2012. Malema is accused of money-laundering. He handed himself over to the Polokwane police on Wednesday morning before his court appearance. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

JOHANNESBURG - Julius Malema's lawyer has given an assurance the expelled ANC Youth League (ANCYL) leader will continue to co-operate with the legal process against him as he prepares for his criminal trial.

Malema appeared in the Polokwane Magistrate's Court on Wednesday, and was charged with 16 counts of money laundering. He is out on R10,000 bail.

While the ANC outcast initially downplayed the seriousness of the charge against him, his lawyer, Nicqui Galaktiou, stressed that her client does indeed take the case very seriously.

She said he had given an undertaking that he would in no way undermine the rule of law and would now prepare to go on trial.

But Malema is unlikely to keep a low profile over the next two months.

FAMILY TRUST

Between January 2009 and December 2011, nearly R6 million was paid into Malema's Ratanang Family Trust.

The trust is one of two shareholders in On-Point Engineering, whose directors have been charged with fraud for lying to win a tender.

After winning a bid to manage the Limpopo roads project, the company allegedly awarded sub-contracting tenders for kick-backs.

Cash for tenders was, according to the charge sheet, paid into the trust, which Malema is believed to have used to fund his extravagant lifestyle.

Meanwhile, Malema cancelled a scheduled address at Impala Platinum's Rustenburg mine yesterday because he feared he would be arrested.

The Friends of the Youth League claimed it had received information that Malema would be arrested as the gathering was deemed to be illegal.

Malema has toured South Africa's mines in recent weeks, in the wake of much unrest in the mining sector.

He has encouraged miners to demand higher wages and is pushing for the nationalisation of mines.

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