Monday 2020-06-01

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‘I TRIED TO BRIBE MACEBO’

By VUYILE DLAMINI | 2020-01-15

AFTER attempting to bribe Principal Crown Counsel Macebo Nxumalo to afford him bail, a man awaiting trial on attempted murder charges has told the court that he was under the impression that Nxumalo could be bought.

During cross-examination on his sworn statement, attempted murder suspect Siboniso Gwebu made wild allegations that besides the E2 500 bribe that he refused to accept, Nxumalo had previously accepted another E2 500 from him.

“I was advised that Nxumalo needed E5 000 for him not to oppose my bail application. Nxumalo came to visit me in prison and told me to give my attorney, the late Leo Gama the first instalment of E2 500, so that there was no paper trail. I was under the impression that paying that money was standard procedure to overturn an attorney’s decision not to oppose bail,” Gwebu alleged.

Gwebu stated that he in fact, did not know that Nxumalo was a principal crown counsel of the High Court.

“I did not even know that I was bribing a senior counsel of the High Court. Before I could give him the second instalment of E2 500, Nxumalo came to see me again and asked me who I was talking to about our arrangement. He informed me that he had received calls from Anti-Corruption Commission officers who accused him of accepting bribes. He also made it seem like I was paying him for nothing,” he alleged.

Initiated

However, the principal crown counsel opposed Gwebu’s statement, accusing him of having initiated the bribery issue.

“Unfortunately, when Gama fell sick and started frequenting South Africa for medical reasons,  I asked other individuals to give him the money. Nxumalo started getting anxious and decided to report the matter to the Anti-Corruption Commission in order to protect himself,” Gwebu responded. After his appearance before the Mbabane Magistrate’s Court in 2017,  Gwebu (30) of Mayiwane, was afforded the opportunity to move a bail application before the High Court pending the hearing of his criminal trial.

When Gwebu, through his legal representation  made an application for bail before the High Court, the Directorate of Public Prosecutions represented by Macebo Nxumalo opposed Gwebu’s application to be released on bail.

This Nxumalo did after consultations with the police, who strongly felt that Gwebu was  a flight risk due to the severity of the crimes committed.

Desperation

Out of pure desperation, Gwebu  on April 26, 2017 approached Nxumalo and directly offered him a sum of E1 000 as an inducement for him to abandon opposing Gwebu’s bail application.

After Nxumalo stood his ground and did not accept such payment, Gwebu  then allegedly approached Nxumalo again a month later on May 3, 2017 and offered him an additional sum of E1 500 as inducement for Nxumalo to abandon opposing his bail application before the High Court.

After Nxumalo reported Gwebu’s corrupt actions, Gwebu had additional charges preferred against him, besides the initial attempted murder charges. He was then charged with contravening the Prevention of Corruption Act of 2016. The matter was postponed to January 23  for the prosecution to make its closing submissions.

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