Friday, March 2, 2012

Prosecutor found guilty of corruption

SA Time: 03 March 2012 01:08:27 AM

Prosecutor found guilty of corruption
March 2 2012 at 09:15am
By Kamini Padayachi

After six years, a former Pietermaritzburg control prosecutor who took a bribe to make a R50-million drugs case disappear has been convicted of corruption and is now facing a possible 15-year jail term.

Zandile Radebe was convicted of corruption yesterday by Durban Regional Court Magistrate Sharon Marks, who said the trial had been “very long and protracted”.

Marks found that although the State had charged Radebe with four counts of corruption, the circumstances of each charge were related and therefore she had only convicted her on one count.

The State alleged that Radebe had been offered a bribe of R150 000 and the possibility of a magistrate’s post if the docket disappeared. She was accused of approaching Terence Ncwane, the prosecutor dealing with the trial, and facilitating a meeting between him and Joburg attorney Frans Mashele, who wanted to make the deal. Ncwane reported the matter to the police, and Mashele and Radebe were arrested in a sting operation.

The arrests took place soon after Mashele gave Ncwane and Radebe R109 000 and R39 000, respectively, as part payment of the proposed bribe of R150 000 each. Mashele pleaded guilty to his role in the case and was given a 10-year suspended sentence and fined R500 000. He and Ncwane testified against Radebe.

Radebe pleaded not guilty and claimed she had been forced into the plot by former Pietermaritzburg chief magistrate Sibaba Ngcobo.

She also contended that she had not accepted the money but that a package had been thrown into her car by Mashele before they had been arrested.

Marks said Mashele’s and Ncwane’s testimonies had been “impressive”, and that the investigating officer, Captain Louis Helberg, could not be faulted in his testimony.

In contrast, Radebe had been a poor witness, had tried to evade answering questions, and had “clutched at straws”.

The case was adjourned to next month for sentence.

Radebe is out on bail.

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