By Sandile Nkambule | 2019-06-13
As the extradition request matter resumed at the Manzini Magistrate’s Court yesterday, the head of the Barberton Maximum Prison pleaded with the court to release Sipho Shongwe to the custody of the Barberton prison.
Senior officer in-charge at the South African Correctional facility Noah Sechason Nkosi informed Principal Magistrate David Khumalo that the earlier the better for Shongwe so that he could finish serving his life sentence.
“As I am standing here before this court, Shongwe is wanted back at the correctional facility so that he can finish serving his life sentence. I must make mention your worship that the earlier the better,” Nkosi said.
Led in evidence by Principal Crown Counsel Macebo Nxumalo, Nkosi told the court that as far the investigations into Shongwe’s liberation, it was gathered that the liberation warrant that was used to release Shongwe was fraudulent.
Nkosi is the same witness who gave evidence during Shongwe’s bail application hearing before Judge Sipho Nkosi at the High Court.
In his judgment Judge Nkosi held that Shongwe did not escape from Barberton prison, hence he granted him bail fixed at E500 000 with E100 000 paid in cash with the E400 000 in a form of sureties.
The deputy director yesterday informed the court that according to their investigations it was discovered that Shongwe was an escapee, hence a manhunt for his search was launched by the correctional facility.
Giving almost similar evidence to that, which he gave the High Court during the bail application last year, Noah told the court that the document purported to be fraudulent was authoured in Pretoria and that one Thabo Mahlalela endorsed his signature to the effect that Shongwe was due for release from the maximum prison.
He stated that upon receipt of the document, which was faxed to the correctional facility the correctional officers facilitated Shongwe’s release and he was indeed liberated.
However, after the investigations had been conducted, it was discovered that the document which was brought before court yesterday was fraudulent.
“I must mention at this point that the officers who actioned the liberation warrant were disciplined by the department of corrections and they acknowledged that they were on the wrong as they did not detect that the document was fraudulent,” he said.
He further told the court that the matter was reported to the South African Police Service (SAPS) and it was handled by the Scorpions, a unit that was, however, later disbanded. Nkosi (director) stated that should Shongwe be spotted anywhere within the South African boundaries he would be arrested by the correctional department and sent back to prison so that he could finish serving his term.
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