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MP BACEDE’S EIGHT CHARGES REVEALED!

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MBABANE - Hosea Member of Parliament (MP) Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza yesterday appeared at the Mbabane Magistrates Court charged with eight counts.


It is alleged that the legislator advised one Siboniso Simelane not to allow police officers, led by Senior Superintendent Clement Sihlongonyane entry into certain bedsitters or premises belonging to Sifiso Mabuza at Mvutjini in Ezulwini.


Sifiso is Bacede’s brother, and was running for a Senate seat but was disqualified a day before the elections.
According to the charge sheet, the officers of the law were at Sifiso’s premises to investigate an offence of or in relation to the contravening of the provisions of the Income Tax Order of 1975 as amended.


Accused


Bacede is accused of advising Simelane not to allow the officers entry into Sifiso’s premises at Mvutjini, where they had allegedly gone to conduct the investigations. It is alleged that, at the time, the officers of the law had produced a search warrant authorising them to search the premises.


It is also alleged that Bacede advised Simelane not to allow officers of the Eswatini Revenue Authority (SRA) entry into Sifiso’s premises. It is alleged that the SRA officers were at the premises to investigate an offence of or relating to contravening the Income Tax Order of 1975 as amended when they were allegedly denied entry.


The businessman was also charged with contempt of court. It is alleged that he resisted arrest by members of the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) led by Senior Superintendent Sihlongonyane in the execution of their duties pursuant to a warrant of apprehension authorising the detention.


Assault


It is further alleged that the MP ‘harm stuck’ 4072 Assistant Superintendent Bhekani Shiba once with a fist on the mouth, resulting in him charged with an offence of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.


He was also accused of threatening to shoot Senior Superintendent Sihlongonyane and the other police officers with his pistol while at Golf Course in Manzini.
During his appearance, his defence team, led by Advocate Mduduzi ‘Tsotsi’ Mabila, wanted to hear the attitude of the Crown before they could move a bail application on behalf of Bacede.


Ayanda Matsenjwa, who is representing the State in the matter, submitted that the bail application was not opposed. However, the Crown stated that there must be stringent conditions attached if Bacede wanted to be released on bail.


Matsenjwa submitted that in granting bail, the court should consider that MP Bacede was a custodian of the same legislation which he allegedly violated. He implored the court to fix the bail at an amount that would force the accused person to come to court.


Matsenjwa also submitted that MP Bacede should report to the nearest police station fortnightly if released on bail because some of the alleged offences involved administration of justice and disrespect of the court.


In response, Advocate Mabila took the court to the Crown’s submission where the latter implored the court to consider that MP Bacede was an author of the law which he allegedly violated.


The advocate stated that the law was clear that when granting bail, the court should not look at the status of the accused person. He submitted that it would be unfair for the court to consider that some of the alleged offences involved the administration of justice in a bail court as his client was yet to stand trial.
Mabila pointed out that most of the alleged offences attracted a fine ranging between E500 to E1 000. He submitted that it was impractical for his client to pay a bail amount, which was far more than the possible fine.


“It is impractical for an accused person to pay, for example, a bail amount fixed at E20 000 if the fine was likely to be E4 000. The court cannot then deduct E4 000 from the E20 000 to form part of the fine and then reimburse the accused person,” he submitted.
Mabila stated that an amount of E2 000 was reasonable in the circumstance. He added that bail was discretional to the court.


Differently


Acting Magistrate Simo Simelane, who presided over the matter, asked why MP Bacede should be treated differently from other accused persons. Simelane asked if all accused reported to the police station if granted bail. The judicial officer referred the Crown to its submission where it stated that MP Bacede should report to the police station as some of the alleged offences involved administration of justice and disrespect of the court. He asked if the issue was with the police station or courts, which had a duty to warn accused persons.


He said an accused person knew what interference with Crown witnesses meant if warned by the court. He also stated that police officers knew what to do once an accused person breached the conditions attached to their bail.


Bail


Simelane then afforded the Crown an opportunity to address the court in law. Matsenjwa submitted that MP Bacede should appear before court fortnightly if released on bail.
The Crown implored the court to warn MP Bacede against interfering with Sifiso Mabuza and Samukelisiwe Mabuza’s affairs, including their properties while out on bail. He applied that MP Bacede should be warned against interfering with Siboniso  Simelane while out on bail.


“We apply that Bacede should seek consent from the investigating officers should he want to talk to the three people. The accused has influence on the trio and the community. He must also not interfere with State witnesses including SRA and Anti-Corruption Commission officers while out on bail,” submitted the Crown.


He added that Sifiso and Samukelisiwe might be MP Bacede’s relatives and so he might call and talk to them. In response, Advocate Mabila, submitted that there was no way MP Bacede could avoid talking to his relatives. He asked what if the relatives sought advice from his client.


“It’s up to Sifiso what he wants to do with his properties. It’s up to him whether he wants to dispose of his properties. I remember in the past, they normally said an accused person should not discuss the matter with Crown witnesses. Accused persons were never banned from interacting with their family members if granted bail,” Advocate Mabila submitted.


Offences


The advocate made an example of a case of murder and robbery, stating that persons accused of those offences were released on bail. He submitted that the nature of evidence and the nature of the offences were dealt with during trial not in the bail court. He stated that so far, there was no evidence that his client disrespected the court.


“There has been no proof before this court that Bacede did any of the offences he is alleged to have committed. Why does the Crown say it as a matter of fact that he is an author of the law which he allegedly violated?” asked Advocate Mabila. He submitted that the Crown should not look at the status of the accused person when granting bail. He implored the court to consider that MP Bacede was a businessman who ran  Baceth Hardware in the country and that he represented the people of Hosea Constituency in Parliament. He said being an MP and businessman was a clear indication that he could come to court whenever ordered to do so.


Condition


Magistrate Simelane granted MP Bacede bail fixed at E5 000 on condition that he did not interfere with state witnesses while out on bail. The court warned the MP to attend all remands and trial whenever ordered to do so. The magistrate mentioned that he issued an extempore judgment and that reasons would follow later.


However, in summary, he told both parties that all bail applications in the world were determined by the principle that all accused persons should be presumed innocent until they were proven guilty by a competent court. He stated that Section 21 of the Constitution of Eswatini provided that an accused person should be granted bail than being refused.


He said the section of the Constitution had been numerously quoted in decided cases. Magistrate Simelane said the interest of society was considered during trial. He ordered that MP Bacede be provided with the list of state witnesses except those who the police officers felt needed protection.  The MP will make his next appearance for setting of trial date before a principal magistrate on August 20, 2020. This is because the alleged offences were commited in different jurisdictions, Mbabane and Manzini.

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