Prosecutor ‘haggled over bribe’
A prosecutor allegedly haggled over the amount of a bribe, eventually settling for half of what he originally asked for.
He also allegedly offered to help Luvuyo Bokwe with “any other problems in future, like drunk driving”.
This emerged from transcripts of a recording, read out in the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court on Wednesday, in which now-suspended prosecutor Thozama Takane allegedly solicited a bribe in exchange for dropping a case.
Excerpts from the conversation between Takane, 45, and Bokwe, 46 – who had been facing assault charges – on the day Takane allegedly accepted a R1,500 bribe in a sting operation, were read into the record by investigating officer Captain Natalie Connelly.
In the recording, Bokwe asks Takane if the bribe will come back to haunt him.
“I do not do things that is not complete,” Takane replies.
“If you ever have a problem with something else like drunk driving . . . give me a call.”
Prosecutor Tjaart van Zyl put it on record that Takane’s lawyer, George Malgas, had put it to Connelly on Tuesday that she had enticed Takane to commit the crime after she had organised the money and told Bokwe to call Takane to arrange the money exchange.
Malgas had said that at an internal hearing in January Takane had offered a different version from that of the audio recording.
Takane has pleaded not guilty to corruption related to the alleged bribe and fraud in an unrelated matter.
He was arrested on April 26 2018 at the Uitenhage Magistrate’s Court, moments after allegedly accepting the bribe from Bokwe who, with Nxaxho Mzezeleli Crosby, was facing the assault charge.
Their case was withdrawn on April 23 after Takane had spoken to the pair.
In the indictment before court, and a statement from the Hawks when the story first broke, it was said that Takane had been arrested on April 23.
But Bokwe told the court on Wednesday that his first meeting with Takane had been on April 23.
He said the money exchange and arrest had happened on April 26. Bokwe said as he and his co-accused were waiting for their case to be called on April 23, Takane approached them, saying that the case against them was very serious but the complainant in the matter was not at court.
“[Takane] advised us to walk out the court building and wait for him in front,” Bokwe said.
“As we were walking, he met up with us and we carried on with our conversation, and he explained to us that the case was very serious and asked what we can do because he is working with R3,000.
“He said he can help us in the matter being withdrawn.
“At the time, we didn’t have money. I told him we didn’t have money.
“He said he was willing to drop the price.
“He said if we can collect R1,500, then he can help us to have the case withdrawn.”
According to Bokwe, when he and Crosby went back to the court Takane explained to the court that the complainant in the matter was not present.
Bokwe said the court interpreter had then told them that the case was withdrawn but should the complainant be found they would be called back to court. Immediately after Bokwe left the court, he reported the matter to the police and gave a statement.
That evening, Connelly visited Bokwe at his house and a plan was hatched to catch Takane red-handed.
The next day, Connelly received authorisation from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in Grahamstown for the sting.
On April 26, Bokwe met Takane in a side street near the Uitenhage court, where the money was allegedly exchanged.
Moments later, the Hawks swooped on Takane and arrested him.
The case was postponed to March 15.
Here are the court transcripts of the recordings:
26 April 2018 PHONE #1: BOKWE: Hello bhuti man. I am on my way.
TAKANE: You will call when you are on your way?
BOKWE: I will call when I am on my way. I will first go to Buco.
TAKANE: Where is Buco?
BOKWE: Buco is at the front of Tshong.
TAKANE: Ok, when you coming this way tell me.
BOKWE: Ok, when I am done at Buco I will phone you. BOKWE TO SHAW: When I am finished here I must phone him. I was arranging I am coming here. I am on my way here so when I am finished I must phone him. Its delay now then (indistinct) I must phone say that I am on my way now (indistinct) to Cash Build. These people don’t have water.
PHONE #2: Voicemail
SHAW: Phone him again.
BOKWE: I am leaving. I did not get wat I was looking for. I did not get the 3 meters (indistinct). Where will you wait for me?
TAKANE: You must call me when you are near Slabbert’s butchery then we will meet in the side street Thornhill street. BOKWE TO SHAW AND CONNELLY: He’s saying when I am finished by Cash Build a street between Slabbert’s Butchery (indistinct) the name of the street he say is Stone Hill. When I am done there from here now CONNELLY: Make sure that he does not send someone else.
BOKWE: No, he is coming.
PHONE #4: Phone rings.
BOKWE: I am here at the corner at Slabbert’s.
MEETING: BOKWE: I was starting to panic as my transport was about to come.
TAKANE: I was busy in Court.
BOKWE: I am thankful for everything you have done for me my brother. I have a cousin that also must appear in Court.
TAKANE: When must he appear in Court?
BOKWE: I must still establish when he is coming to Court. I must go visit him and establish. Is this now finished? It is not going to come back to me when I am asleep?
TAKANE: I do not do things that is not complete. You even have my number. If you ever have a problem with something else like drunk driving or something else give me a call...