Prosecutor gets bail in fraud case

2013-07-11 00:00

DURBAN Magistrate’s Court senior prosecutor Phumzile Msimango was granted R10 000 bail in a fraud case by magistrate Vanitha Armu yesterday.

Msimango (33) spent Tuesday night in police custody after she was arrested in court F, while court proceedings were under way.

She was arrested for soliciting a R1 000 bribe from a senior counsel whose client was to appear on charges of assault and corruption.

The court heard that Msimango was a first-time offender.

Prosecutor Brend Groen alleged that on the day of her arrest, a senior counsel had a casual chat with Msimango about the case he was handling, without suggesting a bribe.

Msimango allegedly told the advocate that if he could come up with the money she could make the case disappear. The advocate informed senior court officials and a trap was set, and R1 000 was made available, which the advocate later gave to Msimango.

While court F proceedings were under way the police entered the court and explained to the court and Msimango why they were there, and searched her handbag. They found banknotes worth R500. The police then went and searched her office where they recovered another R500. All the banknotes had the police’s markings and the serial numbers that had been noted.

The bail conditions were that she must report at the Broad Street police station every Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 6 am and 6 pm.

She is not allowed to apply for a passport or communicate with the orderly and the clerk of court F. She should give the state notice of any change of address.

The Witness has established that Msimango has been working for the NPA for six years.

NPA spokesperson Natasha Ram­kissoon said the matter was viewed in a serious light. “We are not going to be partial because she is a prosecutor. Our duty as the NPA is to correct the wrong and if you, as one of us, expose yourself to corrupt activities, the law will take its course.”

She said in cases like this, a conviction could result in a fine of up to R500 000 or a minimum jail term of 15 years as an alternative to the fine.

The matter was adjourned to July 25 for further investigation.

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