Soldier Fired for accusing Sobantu
MBABANE – The soldier who told a magistrate’s court that he paid Army Commander Sobantu Dlamini E3 000 monthly as a bribe for giving him a job in the army has been fired.
Lesley Sipho Dlamini of Nkh-aba was dismissed as a member of the Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force (USDF) on Tuesday. This was after he appeared before the army’s court martial at the Nokwane army headquarters.
He had been charged with allegedly insulting the army commander.
This was confirmed by both Lesley and the Army Commander on Friday.
Lesley, 24, was based at the Nsingizini Barracks.
He said he was summoned to appear before the army court on Tuesday morning.
Chairing the hearing was Mashi-kilisane Fakudze.
"They said my ch-arges were based on a st-ory which was published abo-ut what I said before the Pigg’s Peak Magistrate’s Court where I told magistrate Leo Dlamini that the Army Commander was taking money from my salary. They said days later, I apologised before court saying I was lying. Before issuing the verdict, the chairman said the outcome of an internal investigation had reflected that indeed I never, at any point, paid money to the army commander or anyone else in the high ranking offices as reward for giving me a job," he said.
"They told me that investigations reflect that I was recruited to the army cleanly and fairly as I underwent all the recruitment exercises at the Nkhaba Inkhundla."
"They told me that the fact that I admitted in court that I was lying about the aRmy Commander gave them reasonable grounds to have me stripped the title of being a soldier. They said even though I had apologised in court, the apology was not convincing," he said.
Lesley alleged that he was not given an opportunity to speak or defend himself during the hearing. He said as soon as the chairman finished addressing the matter, he issued a verdict, telling him he had been relieved of his duties.
"They told me that the army’s laws did not have room for forgiveness, hence I should be fired," he said, adding that his expulsion was verbal.
"After the case, I was transported back to Nsingizini where I handed over my army uniform and service pistol, then packed my belongings and proceeded to Timphisini where my home is," he said.
He said since his expulsion, he had been staying at home and that he has not heard a word from his bosses. He said he has already informed his family about his expulsion and that his father wants to meet with the army commander.
Lesley joined the army in August 2010 and passed out in March 2011.
In March 2012, he was arrested by the Pigg’s Peak police and charged with contempt of court.
He had failed to respect an order to the effect that he pay E14 000 for stealing and damaging a car belonging to one Sipho Dlamini who is a court interpreter in Pigg’s Peak.
Upon his arrest, Lesley appeared in court where he said the reason he had failed to pay was that the Army Commander took E3 000 a month from his salary.
He told the court that the total amount the Army Commander allegedly charged him was E15 000.
Hearing this, Magistrate Leo Dlamini issued summonses directed to the Army Commander and Hhohho Regional Commander to appear in court to answer to Lesley’s allegation.
Lesley changed his statement and told the court that he lied about the bribe saga. He also apologised and was ordered to pay.
The Army Commander then approached the Nkhaba Chief’s residence and laid a charge against Lesley.
The chief’s kraal Umphakatsi fined Lesley a cow which was to be paid to Sobantu to cleanse his name.
After this community case, soldiers from Nsingizini barracks fetched him back from home.
It was then that he was charged by the army court marshal.
I will no longer pay the fine - Lesley
MBABANE – The fired soldier, Lesley Dlamini, says he will no longer pay the cow he was fined by the Nkhaba Chief’s kraal (umphakatsi).
He said the Nkhaba inner council had ruled that he should pay a fine in the form of a cow to Army Commander Sobantu Dlamini as a way of cleansing him for lying about him in court. The matter had been reported to the inner council by the army commander.
"Now that I have been fired I will not pay the fine, which is a cow, to the Army Commander. It is pointless," he said. He said already, arrangements had been made by his father to take the cow to Soba-ntu’s place.
"I am still shocked by my dismissal because I have done nothing wrong to the army.
"What I did was outside my working premises," he argued. Meanwhile, Sobantu said Lesley wou-ld be paid the mo-ney he worked for.
"I don’t know if he would get all his terminal benefits. The army’s legal office would handle that part," he said.
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