Fired Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Senator Sibusiso Shongwe was on Monday (11 May 2015) in the dark about his second attempt of his bail application, The Nation magazine, Swaziland, reports.
Judge Mbutfo Mamba declined to preside over his matter while Judge Nkululeko Hlophe was not available too.
The Senator had to be remanded back to custody by the High Court without his matter heard. Facing corruption charges, he re-applied for bail on medical grounds last week amid fierce opposition from the State.
In his affidavits, the sacked minister said his medical condition is deteriorating in Sidwashini prison.
He also pleads his innocence on the two criminal charges.
He said as a breadwinner he has to fulfil his parental obligations and service loans with creditors to save sporadic attachments of his property by sheriffs which was recently witnessed in the media.
He argues that the law reserves the right to be treated innocent until proven guilty while the prosecution said there are no new facts Shongwe was advancing.
These are the same facts the court heard in his first bail application, Mduduzi Mathunjwa from the Director of Public Prosecutions said.
The prosecution argued that Shongwe is a flight risk and might interfere with witnesses of the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) which is making a case against him and four others, including the holed-up Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi.
He remained in limbo, waiting for more than three hours to see whether he was going to know anything new. It was not until some of the members of his family left the court after the stalemate.
A source close to the matter told The Nation that the Registrar of the High Court is yet to find a replacement judge after Hlophe was said to absent for the rest of the week.
Fair to note is that the High Court and its judges are on recess for a month though this is not to insinuate any outcome on the matter.
It yet remains to be seen who replaces the arrested Registrar, Fikile Nhlabatsi, co-charged with Shongwe and three others after her suspension.
The Nation is an independent monthly comment magazine in Swaziland. It is considered to produce the only journalism supporting democracy in the kingdom, ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch. The magazine’s editor Bheki Makhubu and writer and human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko are presently serving two-year jail sentences in Swaziland for writing and publishing articles critical of the Swazi judiciary.
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