Accused ‘enticed to solicit bribe’
Prosecutor claims assault case already withdrawn
The Uitenhage prosecutor accused of corruption also claims he was enticed to accept the money to withdraw a charge of assault after the case had already been withdrawn, the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court heard.
Defence lawyer George Malgas, on behalf of his client, prosecutor Thozama Takane, 45, told the court that it was only after the charges against Luvuyo Bokwe and Nxaxho Mzezeleli Crosby were withdrawn, that Takane was enticed to accept the alleged bribe of R1,500.
The state alleges the bribe was accepted by Takane in a sting operation in April 2018.
This, Malgas claimed, was only after Bokwe, 46, was told by the police to contact Takane to conclude the payment following the withdrawal of the charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
“The withdrawal [of the charges against Bokwe and Crosby] was never commissioned by the R1,500 payment,” Malgas said.
The investigating officer, Captain Natalie Connelly, told the court during cross-examination that there was an arrangement between Takane, Bokwe and Crosby that the R1,500 would be paid after Takane approached them and before the charges were withdrawn.
“[Takane] saw an opportunity because the witnesses were not before court and made an arrangement.
“The arrangement had already been made [before the charges were withdrawn],” Connelly said.
Malgas asked Connelly if she was aware that a magistrate – when the charges were dropped – had informed Bokwe that they might be reinstated if the witnesses could be traced. Malgas claimed this happened in April 2018.
“I was not aware of that,” Connelly said.
Police spokesperson Captain Gerda Swart confirmed that the charges against Crosby and Bokwe had been withdrawn nolle prosequi in September 2018, meaning that a prosecutor in the matter had decided there was not a definite possibility of a positive prosecution.
That was when the case was closed. However, it was not clear from testimony on Tuesday exactly when the matter had been dismissed before the magistrate.
In January, Takane was brought before a department hearing where Bokwe and Takane had testified.
According to Malgas, it emerged then that Bokwe and Takane had allegedly met in January 2018 at a tavern in Uitenhage.
Malgas put it to Connelly that after this information had emerged she had contacted Bokwe and asked him to take her to the tavern the two men allegedly met at to confirm if they had been seen there.
Connelly said: “[The tavern] had burnt down and there was no way [Takane] and Bokwe could have met there so I followed up.”
According to Malgas, on the day of the sting operation in the side streets around the Uitenhage Magistrate’s Court, when Takane allegedly accepted the bribe, Takane had been on his own errand at the time and had returned to the court with a cooldrink in his hand.
Connelly said she could not confirm if he had a cooldrink in his hand.
Takane was arrested at the court on April 23 2018 after he allegedly accepted the R1,500 payment from Bokwe.
Takane has pleaded not guilty to the charge of corruption and one of fraud.
The separate fraud charge relates to R500 he had allegedly asked the mother of a minor to pay him, saying he would use the money to pay her son’s fine if he was found guilty of theft.
The state says Takane could not guarantee that the woman’s son would be sentenced to a fine.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Tsepo Ndwalaza confirmed that Takane had been suspended from his position.
Takane is out on R5,000 bail. The case continues...