By Mashudu Netsianda
A jailed female cop who is a US$100 bribe in exchange for the release of a theft suspect has approached the High Court seeking bail pending appeal.
Khanyisani Sibanda (43), who was stationed at the ZRP Inyathi Minerals Flora and Fauna Unit, was convicted of criminal abuse of office as a public officer by Bulawayo magistrate, Mr Sheunashe Matova.
She was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment of which 12 months were suspended for five years on condition that she does not within that period commit a similar offence.
A further three months were suspended on condition that she restituted the complainant, Ms Memory Nkomo, the sum of US$100 on or before July 31.
Sibanda solicited and accepted a bribe of US$100 from Mr Jonathan Mathole for facilitating the release of Thabisani Nkomo who had been arrested in connection with a theft case.
Sibanda, through her lawyers VJ Mpofu and Associates, filed an application for bail pending appeal against conviction and sentence at the Bulawayo High Court citing the State as a respondent.
In her bail statement, Sibanda said her appeal had prospects of success. She argued that the magistrate failed to analyse clear evidence of bias against her in the collection of evidence and during investigations.
Sibanda argued that the initial statements by the State witnesses did not implicate her.
“This was the reason why I was only arrested eight days after the incident when a second batch of statements now mentioning me was produced.
The magistrate also held in error that no motive was shown for the State witnesses to bring up trumped up charges.
The defence clearly showed that the State witnesses went overboard to try and shield the prosecutor from any involvement in the events of the day,” argued Sibanda.
She stated that due to the high likelihood of success of her appeal, there was no likelihood of her absconding.
“I am of fixed abode and would be prepared to attend court to clear my name as I stand to lose more if I abscond. It is submitted that I have shown that there is likelihood of the appeal court reversing my conviction and therefore I pray that my application for bail succeeds,” said Sibanda.
In her notice of appeal, Sibanda said the State witnesses were not credible and reliable. She said the detainees were handed over to the prosecutor who in turn released them due to the absence of the magistrate on that particular day.
The State is yet to respond.
According to court papers, on February 11 this year at around 11AM at Inyathi magistrate’s court, Sibanda was approached by Mr Mathole who was seeking the release of Thabisani who had been arrested for theft. Sibanda told Mr Mathole to look for US$100 to facilitate the release of the suspect.
Mr Mathole brought the money which he collected from Ms Nkomo and handed it over to Sibanda who instructed him to place it inside her file.
After receiving the money, Sibanda released Thabisani.
A report was made to the police leading to Sibanda’s arrest. The Chronicle