Africa-Press – Eswatini. Chief Justice Bheki Maphalala allegedly defrauded Government over R1million in housing allowances, an independent investigation reveals.
This is contained in a bundle of documentary evidence that exposes how the Head of the Judiciary misrepresented himself to Government,in that he was entitled to a housing allowance amounting to Fifteen Thousand and Forty-Eight Rands, Fifty-Three Cents(R15,048.53) per month yet Government had allocated him a house at the Judges Complex situated at Thembelihle, Mbabane.
Chief Justice married three wives through Swazi Law and Custom and one of them Mdee Tsabedze-Maphalala, his former bodyguard is now fraudulently occupying the Government house at the Judges Complex.
An independent investigation conducted uncovered that the alleged fraud allegedly committed by the Chief Justice started over five years ago, he has been pocketing about Two Hundred Thousand Rands(R200,000.00) per year and as a result, the undue benefit has exceeded over R1million.
Reached for comments, human rights lawyer Sibusiso Nhlabatsi described this disclosure as serious allegations of corruption.
“These are strong allegations of corruption, those who are responsible for the accountability of public funds must follow this matter. This means there are other civil servants who are unable to have houses because the Chief Justice is benefiting both the housing allowance and a Government house,” said the human rights lawyer.
But independent investigation conducted by this Swaziland News further uncovered that subsequent to the allegations of fraud, corruption and or abuse of power by the Chief Justice, he was reported to the Anti- Corruption Commission(ACC) for possible investigation.
An investigation is a process of gathering evidence and or facts to substantiate allegations of wrongdoing, it acts as a deterrence measure against impropriety or commitment to accountability.
Jabu Phakathi, the Anti-Corruption Spokesperson avoided questions when reached for comments and declined to comment.
But insiders within the Anti-Corruption Commission(ACC) confirmed to this publication that the investigation by the ACC was allegedly stopped by Daniel Dlamini, the ACC Commissioner.
Dlamini’s employment as the Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission(ACC) was allegedly facilitated by the Chief Justice in his capacity as the Chairman of the Judiciary Service Commission(JSC).
“The investigation was stopped by our Commissioner”, said an investigator within the ACC.
On or around 12th October 2016, Chief Justice Bheki Maphalala castrated the Anti-Corruption Commission(ACC) through a highly questionable judgement in a matter where the ACC was seeking a warrant of arrest against the then Commerce Minister Gideon Dlamini and Fred Ngeri.
Maphalala never declared that the ACC was investigating another case of corruption against him, he later facilitated the removal of Advocate Thanda Mngwengwe, the then ACC Commissioner and employed Dan Dlamini who, according to ACC investigators who spoke to this publication, has been sabotaging all investigations involving the Chief Justice.
According to the documents in our possession, Chief Justice Maphalala who was once accused of selling justice to the rich and powerful, earns over one Hundred Thousand Rands(R100,000.00) but remains broke such that he opted to defraud Government and further requested a salary advance of thirty thousand Rands(R30,000.00).
As per the documentary evidence in our possession, the Chief Justice is currently paying back the advance with an installment of ten thousand Rands(R10,000.00).
Reached for comments, Charity Simelane, the Secretary General of the Law Society of Swaziland(LSS) promised to share a written comment, however, she had not shared the comment at the time of compiling this report.
“Let me write it down, I will then share the comment,” said the Law Society Secretary General.
A questionnaire was sent to the Chief Justice, however, he had not responded at the time of compiling this report.
The Chief Justice recently abused his powers and interfered with the independence of the Supreme Court in that he directed Supreme Court Judge Jacobus Annandale to preside and further write a judgement in the bail appeal of the incarcerated pro-democracy Members of Parliament(MPs) Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube.
The MPs are currently behind bars as the Chief Justice on behalf of Mswati, continues to frustrate their release.