Thursday 2020-04-09

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MAN FACES 20 YEARS IN PRISON

By VUYILE DLAMINI | 2020-02-14

AFTER the court convicted him of having bribed public prosecutor Macebo Nxumalo, Siboniso Gwebu is facing a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

These were submissions revealed by Director of Public Prosecution’s Thabo Dlamini yesterday during Gwebu’s judgment passed by Senior Magistrate Nonhlanhla Dlamini.

According to the Principal Crown Counsel Dlamini, Section 34 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act of 2016 penalty clause stated that an accused person, having contravened the Act, was liable to a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, with the option to pay a fine of E200 000.

“The legislator who compiled and passed this Act took this offense seriously, and intended for the Act to punish offenders harshly.

This office urges the court to refer to the Speech from the Throne, which highlighted that corruption was a cancer to our society. I further urge that in its sentencing, the court should make an example in deterring potential offenders from considering acting in a corrupt manner,” Dlamini submitted.

However, Dlamini stated that subsection 1 of the abovementioned penalty clause stated that it limited the sentence to E100 000 fine, or serve 10 years in prison.

Dlamini further stated that in his bribing of Nxumalo, Gwebu was attempting to defeat the ends of justice, and needed to be severely punished for doing so.

“If Nxumalo had accepted the bribe as Gwebu had expected him to, there would have been a great injustice in the manner in which his matter would have played out. This would have also allowed for a door to be open, for potential offenders to simply walk through the halls of injustice,” Dlamini added.

Dlamini made his submissions before Senior Magistrate Dlamini, after the court found Gwebu guilty as charged.

‘Macebo smart by reporting matter to cops first’

In passing the court’s judgment, Senior Magistrate Nonhlanhla Dlamini submitted that Macebo Nxumalo was smart by reporting Siboniso Gwebu’s bribery attempt to police officers first.

“Gwebu’s defence relied upon that Nxumalo was the initiator in the whole matter. Gwebu offering to pay Nxumalo makes him guilty, when he should have instead, reported Nxumalo’s proposition to police officers first. Only then would Nxumalo have been charged with an offence, instead Nxumalo beat him to it,” the judicial officer submitted. Senior Magistrate Dlamini further stated that in his defence, Gwebu stated that he was not aware that Nxumalo was seeking a bribe from him.

“This submission by Gwebu is not true, as it is widely known that when someone approaches you wanting you to ‘faka lokuncane’, it means that person wants you to grease their palms. Gwebu understood exactly what Nxumalo meant, and when he offered Nxumalo the E2 500, he knew what he was doing. The court will throw Gwebu’s defence out of the window,” the judicial officer added.

After finding him guilty as charged, Gwebu, in his mitigation, maintained that he was not aware that he was being made to commit an offence when Nxumalo told him to pay him money for him not to oppose his bail application.

“I was really not aware that he was making me commit an offence, and I maintain my innocence in all of this. I promise to never resort to bribing a public official, as I am a first offender in this instance,” Gwebu submitted. After hearing his mitigation, the court remanded Gwebu into custody, pending his sentencing on February 21.

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