CHIEF Napo Majara of Sekamaneng will know his fate tomorrow when the High Court passes sentence following his conviction on bribery charges.
High Court judge, Justice ‘Maseforo Mahase, on 31 March found the chief guilty of demanding and receiving bribes in exchange of delivering services to his subjects.
The judge then deferred sentencing to 17 April, but because Justice Mahase was out of the country on official duty at the time, the case was deferred to 27 April, which is tomorrow.
Chief Majara’s lawyer, Advocate Rethabile Makara told the Sunday Express at the time: “The case has been postponed to 27 April because the judge was not present due to other official commitments.”
Chief Majara was found guilty of receiving M500 which he had solicited from Bokoro Tau in 2004. The chief had demanded the money in order to facilitate the transfer of a piece of land from Bokoro Tau’s name to his brother’s, Dingaan Tau.
However, Bokoro had alerted the police of the demand, who then set a trap for the chief, leading to his arrest as he received the marked notes.
Justice Mahase found the chief guilty of contravening provisions of the Prevention of Corruption and Economic Offences Act of 1999 for soliciting bribes as a public officer.
The judge then extended the chief’s bail after conviction citing the on-going “go-slow” in the prison service.
Justice Mahase said as she found the chief guilty as charged: “The accused has no defence at all, except his bare denial.
“He never challenged evidence that he met the Tau brothers in 2004, demanding bribes before he could serve them.
“As I have already said, the accused was asked by the Tau brothers to stop demanding payment from them, but told them that even some high-ranking people were paying for such services, as nothing is free.”
Justice Mahase also observed that Chief Majara was once suspended from his duties due to some malpractices.
“The accused is the gazette chief of Sekamaneng. He assumed his duties as such in September 1983. He was demoted during the military regime, but reinstated on an unspecified date,” she remarked.
The judge further said Chief Majara should not have solicited bribes because he drew his stipend from government coffers.
“The accused, in his capacity as the gazette chief of Sekamaneng, is a public officer who draws his salary from the Treasury Department. As a matter of principle, it is wrong for a public official to demand bribes. It is against the reasons I stated above that the accused is found guilty as charged,” she ruled.
The judge also said the police should have laid another charge of fraud against the chief.
Justice Mahase said evidence before the court was the chief issued a fraudulent document to Bokoro, showing his lawful occupation of the land.
In the document, the chief had back-dated the stamp to give the impression that the document had been stamped in 1980, and not 2004.
During the trial, Justice Mahase in November 2013 sent Chief Majara to prison for 14 days after he failed to appear in court on 4 November, 2013.
The incarceration was for contempt of court.
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