E50 million suspects demand justice
MBABANE – The fraud suspects in the E50 million Capacity Building Fund have reported the Judiciary to the Human Rights and Integrity Commission, demanding justice in their matter.
The Swazi News can exclusively reveal that the suspects have asked for the commission’s intervention in having their matter dealt with by the High Court. They have complained that the High Court has been dragging in determining their matter, six years after their arrest in January 2007.
The letter was signed by one of the suspects, Musa Fakudze, the former Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Finance.
Fakudze was arrested together with retired Examinations Council of Swaziland Re-gistrar Dr Ben Dlamini, Channel Swazi TV boss Qhawe Mamba, Sabelo Mavuso and Nonhlanhla Dlamini who was an accountant at the Finance Ministry.
The others were Sebenzile Thango, Phindile Gwebu, Tsembani Simelane and Phi-ndile Lokotfwako. They were arrested following recommendations of a Commission of Inquiry on the use of the E50 million Capacity Building Fund led by the late lawyer, Thulani Masina.
In the letter, Fakudze complained that the delay in having the matter determined was a fragrant violation to the suspects’ rights. She said the Constitution (Section 21) stipulated that an accused person has a right to a speedy, fair and just trial.
She also said the suspects’ lawyers had time an again approached the Registrar of the High Court, Mpendulo Simelane, persuading him to expedite the process of having the matter determined, to no avail.
The suspects have, since then, been out on E50 000 bail each. They paid cash and also put up property as surety to regain their liberty.
The Human Rights Commis-sion’s acting Chairman Sabelo Masuku, in an interview, confirmed receipt of the complaint. He, however, did not want to be drawn to give further details on the matter. He said it was against the Commission’s policy to publicly discuss matters pending before it.
"Yes, there is such a complaint pending before the Commission. You can ask them (suspects) of the progress. Alternatively, you can talk to the Director of Public Prosecutions," Masuku said.
The suspects were rounded up from January 20, 2007 and in the subsequent days, following their warrants of arrest that were issued by Hhohho Senior Magistrate, Joe Gumede, on the previous day.
Thango, the Director of Inhla-va Consultancy, Mavuso and Dr Ben Dlamini, Directors of Vutse-la Consultancy were arrested on January 20, 2007. Mamba and the rest of the suspects were rounded up days later.
Efforts to get hold of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Nkosinathi Maseko, to comment on the matter proved futile as his mobile phone was switched off yesterday. He was reported to be out of the country.
Lawyer Mduduzi Mabila who represented Fakudze in the matter said he had not been made aware on the developments in the case.
"I am not aware of the letter you are talking about and can neither confirm nor deny that. I will, on Monday, talk to the Registrar of the High Court on the matter," Mabila said.
Commission wants answers from CJ
MBABANE – The Human Rights and Integrity Commission has dema-nded answers from Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi on the matter.
The Swazi News has it in authority that following the complaint lodged by the E50 million suspects, the commission forwarded correspondence to Ramodibedi asking that his office explains why the matter has not been dealt with six years on.
The Commission requested Ramodibedi to attend to the matter since the suspects’ rights to a speedy hearing and finali-sation of their case, as stipulated in the Constitution, was being violated.
Ramodibedi is the head of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).
A source close to the JSC confirmed that the letter was received by the Chief Justice, but it had not been respon-ded to as of yesterday.
Efforts to get a co-mme-nt form the JSC Secretary Lorraine Hlophe proved futile as she did not answer her mobile phone yesterday evening.
When first sought for comment on Thursday after-noon, she was reportedly in a meeting for the better part of the day.
Ramodibedi had not respo-nded to a text message that was sent to him on Thu-rsday aftern-oon, by the time of going to pr-ess.
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