MP, co-accused file for acquittal
MBABANE – Khubuta Member of Parliament (MP) Charles Myeza and his co-accused have filed an application for acquittal.
Myeza, his wife Phumzile and Musa Ngwenya, who face fraud and forgery charges, yesterday filed the application after the Crown had closed its case.
The application was filed by the accused’s lawyers Mduduzi Mabila for Myeza and Sipho Gumedze for Phumzile and Ngwenya.
They are alleged to have defrauded the Royal Swaziland Police Service, through Myeza’s company PPC Electrical, large sums of money on frau-dulent contracts. They all had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The application was move in terms of Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act. The section stipulates that if at the close of the Crown’s case, the accused feels that not enough evidence has been placed by the Crown, he may apply to be acquitted and discharged.
Myeza faces 50 charges of fraud and forgery in that as director of PPC Electrical they, with the other accused, induced government to pay money alleging that some electrical work had been undertaken in various police stations around the country.
They are alleged to have also used a fraudulent contract.
Mduduzi Mabila told the High Court that the test of the discharge application was whether or not the evidence placed before court, if left unanswered, would result in the conviction of the accused.
He said if there was such evidence, the court would dismiss the application, but if it did not establish the guilt of the accused, the judge could use his discretion and acquit the accused.
He said the general principle of law was that a company director, secretary or chairman cannot be held liable for criminal activities of a company.
He said, however, Parliament enacted a law that stated that a director of a company should be charged together with a company. "For a director of a company to be held criminally liable, he has to have participated or did not act to stop the crime. The Crown has to prove knowledge and participation on the part of the director, secretary or chairman," Mabila said.
He submitted that Myeza did not participate in the alleged crimes, but was charged on the basis of being a director to PPC Electrical (PTY) Ltd. He submitted that the Crown witnesses testified that Myeza never went to the said police stations where the invoiced work was said to have been done.
"The witnesses said Myeza was never expected to verify that the work invoiced had been done, by going to the site to double check. Nowhere has it been alleged that Myeza participated in the commission of the work done by PPC Electrical. There is no evidence that Myeza was present when the Royal Swaziland Police and PPC Electrical entered into the contracts," Mabila said.
The case continues this morning.
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