Cape Town - A police warrant officer, charged with corruption, fired his lawyer on Thursday “because he takes me for a fool”.
Warrant officer Bongani Ndiko, 43, is accused of accepting a bribe to allow an awaiting-trial prisoner out of his holding cell at the Wynberg Regional Court in Cape Town, to have sex with his girlfriend.
Ndiko appeared in the Specialised Commercial Crime Court in Bellville with prisoner John Maggott, who allegedly bribed Ndiko.
They have not yet been asked to plead to two charges each of corruption and one each of conspiracy to deal in or possession of dagga.
The alleged offences took place at the holding cells of the Wynberg Regional Court in March, 2012.
According to the charge sheet, Ndiko was a court orderly in charge of prisoners appearing at the court, when the alleged incidents happened.
Prosecutors Lhenro Badenhorst and Simone Liedeman alleged that Maggott gave Ndiko a R150 bribe so that Maggott could have sex with his girlfriend.
Ndiko is alleged to have received additional bribes totalling R12 000 to smuggle dagga parcels to Maggott. Maggot faces two similar counts of corruption, as the alleged giver of the bribes.
The charge sheet referred to a number of cellphone sms messages between Ndiko and Maggott, allegedly arranging for dagga parcels to be given to Ndiko, to smuggle to Maggott in the court holding cells, and for the alleged payment of bribes.
In one SMS, Ndiko is alleged to have said if a particular bribe was “not a block (R1000), don’t bother coming”.
It is alleged that Ndiko deposited R12 000 into his bank account on March 27, 2012.
In Thursday’s proceedings, before magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg, Ndiko terminated his defence attorney’s mandate, for reasons not stated.
In the attorney’s place, he engaged an advocate, but fired him as well because he was not present when the case was called.
Ndiko explained to the court: “My advocate takes me for a fool”.
It transpired that he had not yet paid the advocate’s fees, which prompted the magistrate to warn him: “If you don’t pay the fees in advance, they don’t appear for you Ä that’s how they operate.”
Ndiko then re-engaged his attorney, who agreed to undertake his defence if he consulted and paid her fee in time.
The case was postponed to June 23, when they are expected to plead to the charges.
Ndiko is out on warning, while Maggott is in prison, serving a sentence in an unrelated case.