On Friday, the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court sentenced Ntombesihlanu Sonqishe to 10 years' imprisonment, with three years suspended for five years provided the former advocate does not commit a similar offence.
She was convicted of corruption in September after an incident in July last year in which she accepted a R7 000 bribe from an accused promising he would receive bail.
A source close to the investigation said Sonqishe had been the one to solicit the bribe, essentially threatening the accused until he paid her. “The accused reported the matter and the NPA swiftly acted on the allegations,” said NPA spokesperson Phindi Louw-Mjonondwane.
On Friday, Sonqishe was surrounded by her peers in the courtroom who protested against her corrupt behaviour.
“Our integrity is not for sale,” read a sign held by one robed member of the NPA. “If you bribe, you will be fried,” read another.
In a statement, the NPA said it was dismayed “that an officer of the court, tasked with delivering justice to the victims of crime, chose to neglect this duty for self-enrichment.
“The NPA condemns corruption as it erodes the good work done by prosecutors who remain faithful to their oath of office. The institution refuses to be judged as a failure because of a few corrupt individuals”
Director of Public Prosecutions Andrew Chauke, welcoming the sentence, said:
“Corruption erodes the confidence of citizens in institutions like the NPA and there exists a need to arrest the situation through harsher sentences to deter like-minded individuals.”