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Suspend magistrate: justice portfolio

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justice scales and books Clyde Robinson

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Johannesburg - The Justice Portfolio Committee is calling for the suspension of a Randburg magistrate facing a charge corruption.

“It is alleged that Mr MJ Kgomo demanded and received an amount of R150 000 in exchange for positively influencing the outcome of an appeal against extradition... in a particular matter,” committee chairman Luwellyn Landers said in a statement.

“In the matter referred to, the complainant faces charges of corruption in another country amounting to R20 million.”

Landers said the amount of R150 000 was recovered in Kgomo's briefcase in his presence.

He was given an opportunity to comment on the desirability of his provisional suspension from office by the Magistrates Commission.

“Having considered Mr Kgomo's response on February 4, the commission resolved to recommend that he be provisionally suspended from office in terms of section 13 (3)a of the Magistrates Act, pending the Magistrates Commission's investigation into his fitness to hold office,” he said.

The commission said it was inappropriate for any judicial officer, appearing as an accused before a court of law on a charge of corruption, to still sit on bench.

“The charge and existing evidence against Mr Kgomo are (of) such a serious nature that they would justify his removal from office should he be found guilty of the misconduct charges preferred against him.”

“For all these reasons, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development (Jeff Radebe) decided to provisionally suspend Mr Kgomo as a magistrate with immediate effect,” said Landers.

Kgomo would retain his salary pending the outcome of the investigation into his fitness to hold office.

Landers said the committee agreed with the minister's determination.

“Having considered the request by the Magistrates Commission to provisionally suspend Mr Kgomo from office, the Justice Portfolio Committee therefore recommends that the National Assembly confirms Mr Kgomo's provisional suspension.”

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