An Mpumalanga-based court interpreter, 47-year-old Timothy Sibuyi was released on bail after he appeared before the Mhala Regional Court - where he works - on allegations of corruption.
The court official appeared in court on Monday, according to Mpumalanga provincial spokesperson for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, also known as the Hawks.
“The appearance of Sibuyi followed after he was arrested on a warrant of arrest by the Hawks’ Nelspruit-based serious corruption investigation team,” said Sekgotodi.
“It is alleged that on November 17, 2022, Sibuyi approached the brother of an accused person who was arrested for a rape case. He invited him to his office at Mhala Magistrate’s Court.”
According to the Hawks, Sibuyi told the man that since his brother was not legally represented by a Legal Aid attorney, he could arrange a legal representative - for a fee.
“When the complainant offered him R1,000, he (Sibuyi) refused, stating that the money was too little. He demanded R2,500,” said Sekgotodi.
“The money was raised by the family, and R2,500 was deposited into his Capitec bank account.”
The matter was reported to the police, and the case was transferred to the Hawks serious corruption investigation at Nelspruit, for further probe.
“After the accused heard that a corruption case was opened, he then approached the mother of the complainant and paid R2,000 back and promised to settle the outstanding amount later,” said Sekgotodi.
“After thorough investigation by the Hawks, a warrant for his arrest was authorised.”
During the court appearance on Monday, Sibuyi was released on R5,000 bail.
The case was postponed to October 16.
Meanwhile, provincial head of the Hawks in Mpumalanga, Major-General Nicolas Gerber has applauded the law enforcement team “for the speedy finalisation of the case”.
Gerber urged community members to report instances where money is solicited from them in corrupt schemes.
“This is not an isolated incident. Corruption will not stop if we as citizens do not report and say, enough is enough,” said Gerber.
In April 2021, the Hawks said another Mpumalanga court interpreter, 40-year-old Zizwe Zitha who was based at the Calcutta Magistrate’s Court was also arrested “for the same crime and modus operandi”.
His case was transferred to the Nelspruit Regional Court and Zitha is set to appear on November 19.