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image Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Sibusiso Shongwe.

MBABANE – The alleged fraud  case of newly appointed Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Sibusiso Shongwe and Swazi Observer Group of Newspapers’ former Managing Director Alpheous Nxumalo will eventually see the light of day.

He was appointed into Senate before being appointed Minister of Justice on Sunday. Shongwe, who is a lawyer by profession, and Nxumalo have been taken to court for allegedly defrauding the newspaper E222 630. Shongwe is also a former member of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC)

Deputy Registrar of the High Court Agrippa Bhembe yesterday finally signed the combined summons where the newspaper is demanding payment of the money from the two.
Lawyers representing the newspaper recently filed an application at the High Court where they were seeking an order compelling the Registrar of the High Court to sign the combined summons.

This was after alleged several unfruitful attempts by the lawyers of the newspaper to have them signed.
These are allegations contained in an affidavit whose veracity is still to be tested in court. Nxumalo and Shongwe are yet to file their responding papers.
According to the combined summons, Shongwe and Nxumalo allegedly acted in collusion or within common purpose to commit theft of the amount of E222 630 as a result of which the company suffered financial loss.

The defendants (Shongwe and Nxumalo) are alleged to have refused to pay the E222 630.
On July 1, 2012, the publication (plaintiff) entered into a written Retainer Agreement with Shongwe, in terms of which he was to render professional legal services to the company, as well as vetting articles that would be published.

When entering into the agreement, the newspaper was represented by its former MD, Nxumalo, who is being cited as the second defendant.
Shongwe represented his law firm-Sibusiso B. Shongwe & Associates, which is the first defendant in this case.

It was an implied; alternatively, a tacit term of the Retainer Agreement that; Shongwe would render professional legal services to the plaintiff in good faith and with honesty and would not represent anyone against the plaintiff while the Retainer Agreement was still in force.
In July 2012, Nxumalo instituted legal proceedings against The Swazi Observer under Industrial Court Case No: 249/12, wherein he was challenging his suspension from work.
The suspension, according to the court papers, had been sanctioned by the newspaper’s Board of Directors.
When instituting the court proceedings, Nxumalo was represented by the company’s lawyer, who filed the court application on his (Nxumalo) behalf, notwithstanding that the Retainer Agreement entered into was still in force at the time.

“Upon rendering the professional legal services to the second defendant (Nxumalo) against the plaintiff (Observer) in the Industrial Court, the first defendant (Shongwe), thereafter, acting in collusion or in common purpose with the second defendant, issued periodic statements of account to the plaintiff totalling E222 630 charged to the company for work done by Shongwe on Nxumalo’s behalf,” reads the combined summons.

Shongwe and Nxumalo allegedly fraudulently misrepresented to the company that the statements of account were in respect of professional services rendered to it, well knowing that such was not true.

Pursuant to the alleged misrepresentation, Nxumalo authorised payment to Shongwe, resulting in a financial loss to The Swazi Observer. The company argues that Shongwe acted on behalf of Nxumalo, in his personal capacity. Magagula & Hlophe Attorneys are appearing for the company.
 Efforts to ascertain whether the minister had received the summons yesterday proved futile as his phone rang unanswered and was later diverted.

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