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Kimberley - An assistant Master of the High Court, Method Nkonjani Gqetywa, received bail after appearing in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on Friday on charges of corruption and accepting a benefit.

The provincial spokesperson for the Hawks, Nomthandazo Mnisi, said that Gqetywa, 49, was arrested by the Hawks’ Serious Corruption Investigation unit on Thursday last week following a probe into allegations that he demanded a R15 000 bribe from two witnesses in order to assist them to claim a deceased’s estate.

“It is alleged that two female witnesses went to the Master of the High Court in Kimberley on July 4 to lodge a claim in respect of the estate of their late partner.”

Mnisi said they were referred to Gqetywa for assistance by another official.

“The accused demanded an amount of R7 500 as a gratification from each of them in order to assist. The investigation started from July 4 when the witnesses approached our offices with the allegation.

“The suspect was arrested after receiving the bribe and was charged for contravention of Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.”

Gqetywa initially indicated to the court on Friday that he would make use of Legal Aid SA to represent him in court. He later changed his mind and stated that he would arrange for private legal representation.

He stated that the complainants in the matter “had a plot with the Hawks”.

State prosecutor Elmarie Kruger said there were a number of outstanding witness statements, while the Master’s Office in Kimberley also needed to submit an affidavit.

She added that arrangements had been made with the employer of the accused to ensure that his scope of work did not involve working with members of the public once he was released on bail.

“The accused may not contact the two witnesses until the matter has been finalised.”

She advised that bail should be set at R5 000. It was later agreed that the amount would be decreased to R4 000 as Gqetwya was unable to raise the full bail money.

The matter was postponed for further investigation.

DFA