‘No mercy for corrupt cops’

2014-10-07 00:00

THE prosecution has asked for harsh prison sentences to be imposed on 13 Pietermaritzburg policemen and ex-policemen convicted of fraud yesterday.

Two others were acquitted.

The men were found guilty of lodging false claims in respect of hospital guard duties in 2005 and 2006 while employed by the SA Police Services at Plessislaer.

Prosecutor Sharleen Haggard said the guilty men — three of whom are still employed by the police and a fourth who works a police reservist — had laughed in the face of overpowering evidence against them at their trial.

“Throughout this trial, the State has noted laughter by the accused and even more grievous, arrogance, by a number of the accused. This shows the court exactly what the accused think of these proceedings,” she said in her submissions on sentencing.

Sentences are due to be imposed on Thursday.

Haggard urged magistrate Celumusa Zungu to sentence each to the maximum three years imprisonment for every fraud count they were individually convicted of.

Haggard said the money they stole from the taxpayer totalled R200 000. They’d abused the trust of the public and the police.

Defence advocate Anesh Sukdeo confirmed that three of the men — Mlungisi Ndlovu (32), Madoda Ngubane (40) and Donald Sokhela (37) — are still employed by the SAPS. He said they were not suspended from duty pending the outcome of the case, indicating that their working relationship with the SAPS did not break down despite the charges.

He added that another — Bhekisisa Zondi (55), who is no longer with the SAPS — is still “volunteering” as a police reservist offering a service to the public.

Zondi has only been found guilty on a single count of fraud involving R472,04.

However, Haggard told the court Zondi was convicted in July 1990 for contravening the arms and ammunitions act (possessing a weapon and ammunition without a licence). He was sentenced to pay a fine of R200 or four months imprisonment in addition to a six month suspended jail sentence.

He also has a conviction for assault in 2004 and for assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm in 2006 — in respect of which he also received fines.

Haggard said another, Justice Ndlovu (44), has a previous conviction in 1989 for contravening the Road Traffic Act, for using a false registration/licence plate, and another for assault in 2003.

A third, James Gubese, had paid an admission of guilt fine in 2012 for assault.

While Sukdeo argued that the previous convictions are irrelevant to this case, Haggard said they showed the men didn’t learn from their past brushes with the law.

One of the convicted men, Bhekisisa Zondi, claims to be the biological father of 25 children.

Detailing the personal circumstances of each of the accused for the court, advocate Anesh Sukdeo asked if he could briefly consult Zondi to check how many children he has.

Zondi began counting on his fingers and Sukdeo thereafter told the magistrate that according to his instructions, Zondi has 25 children.

“I am not certain if that includes his grandchildren,” he said.

The magistrate said he should check again, after which Sukdeo said Zondi confirmed that he indeed has 25 children of his own, ranging in age from eight to 30 years. The convicted accused are: Sthembiso Ndlovu, Mlungusi Ndlovu, Thulani Dlungwane, Madoda Ngubane, Donald Sokhela, Bhekizizwe Hlongwa, Bhekisisa, Zondi, Mlungisi Mndaweni, Mzamo Kunene, Isaac Majola, Simpson Zondi, Zamokwakhe Phungula and James Gubese.

The Witness asked KwaZulu-Natal provincial police to comment on the allegation that Zondi is still working as a voluntary police reservist in spite of his previous convictions, as well as the status of the three current SAPS members who were found guilty of fraud.

“We acknowledge receipt of your inquiry and will respond tomorrow,” Captain Thulani Zwane said in an e-mail.

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