A police officer in Swaziland sold fake driving licences, a court in the kingdom was told.
A traffic cop in Manzini, Swaziland’s main commercial city, took E2,500 (US$200) for a fake document.
Hloniphile Gule appeared before Mbabane Principal Magistrate Fikile Nhlabatsi after having been charged with driving a car without a valid licence.
The Swazi Observer reported (29 December 2017) that Gule told the court that she obtained the document from a traffic police officer in Manzini in 2003 after paying him E2,500 in cash. She said she did not know the licence was a fake.
The newspaper reported her saying, ‘I started driving lessons in 2003 and after a few months, my driving instructor said I was now ready to get a drivers licence. He took me and four others to the Manzini Police Station where we met a traffic police officer. The officer instructed all four of us to give him E2,500 each and wait outside the police station.’
She said the officer who was dressed in full police uniform gave licences to all five of them.
Gule pleaded guilty to the offence and asked for leniency. She was sentenced to one year imprisonment with a fine option of E2,000. The sentence was suspended for one year on condition she was not found guilty of a similar offence.
People in Swaziland believe corruption in the kingdom is rife, a survey published in December 2017 found. About 79 percent of 3,090 people interviewed said this in a survey conducted by the Swazi Ministry of Justice and Constitution Affairs through the Anti-Corruption Commission.
The survey suggested that the perceived major causes of corruption were poverty (58 percent), unemployment (54 percent) and greed (41 percent).
In June 2017, the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) reported the kingdom, which is ruled by King Mswati III as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, was riddled with corruption in both private and public places.
It said, ‘The results of grand corruption are there for all to see in the ever increasing wealth of high-level civil servants and officers of state.’
It added, ‘For a long time the police, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade as well as the Department of Customs and Excise have often been implicated in corrupt practices.’
It gave many examples including the case of the government propaganda organisation Swaziland Broadcasting and Information Service (SBIS) where E 1.6 million was paid to service providers for the maintenance of a machine that was neither broken nor in use. The officer who authorised the bogus job cards has since been promoted and transferred to another government department.
The report called The effectiveness of anti-corruption agencies in Southern Africa stated, ‘This type of behaviour is common albeit covert and therefore difficult to monitor as goods and services are undersupplied or rerouted for personal use. The results of grand corruption are there for all to see in the ever increasing wealth of high-level civil servants and officers of state.’
SWAZILAND ‘RIDDLED WITH CORRUPTION’
CORRUPTION IN SWAZI GOVERNMENT ‘RIFE’
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