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Cops top brass dragged into fingerprints scandal

image LOVA THATHI COVER: Lucky Matsenjwa leaving the court room after his bail application was dismissed by High Court Judge Robert Magagula.

In a rather startling revelation, the police officer charged with the murder of his colleague and witness in the fingerprints case, has alleged that he was acting on orders of the police executive command when he deleted fingerprints for convicts.

Lucky Matsenjwa, who was initially charged with contravening the Prevention of Corruption Act and defeating the ends of justice in the fingerprints case, is now charged with the murder of his colleague, Mduduzi ‘Schaza’ Matsebula who was the key witness in the fingerprints case. Making submissions during Matsenjwa’s bail application was Advocate Mduduzi Mabila as instructed by lawyer Noncedo Ndlangamandla. Mabila submitted before High Court Judge Robert Magagula that his client instructed him that the executive command of the Royal Swaziland Police (RSP) is in fact the one that gave him orders to have fingerprints for some convicts deleted from the police prosecution system at the police headquarters. 

“We have names My Lord but that has been reserved for trial, the applicant was actually acting on the instructions of the executive management of the police service as he was told to delete the fingerprints for convicts who wanted employment in the police service,” Mabila submitted.

Mabila further submitted that the Crown, which was represented by Senior Counsel Macebo Nxumalo and Ncamsile Masuku, was labouring on the wrong impression when it submitted that the applicant (Matsenjwa) is a flight risk as he applied to have his travel document  from the police but never returned it. 

He argued that the applicant cannot be held in contempt for violating his bail conditions as set by the court since he did write a letter requesting his travel document since he had gone for a medical examination in South Africa, only to be arrested by the police upon his return.


‘Refusing Matsenjwa bail isequal to death sentence’ 

Citing a judgment by Judge Thomas Masuku, Advocate Mduduzi Mabila submitted that refusing a suspect with a medical condition bail, is tantamount to giving that suspect a death sentence.

Mabila submitted that the applicant (Matsenjwa) has a medical condition which requires frequent medical attention by doctors in South Africa and further that he is expected to undergo an operation.

The applicant submitted that he was involved in a motorcycle accident and sustained serious injuries, which now require medical attention and that his doctors have advised he has to be operated on.

“Refusing a suspect with a medical condition bail is similar to sentencing him to death since the conditions in jail are not conducive for a sickly person, further there are no operating facilities within the prison institutions in the country with some local hospitals also referring their patients to South African hospitals,” Mabila submitted.

He told the court that there are exceptional circumstances in the bail application since Matsenjwa has to undergo an urgent medical operation and his continued incarceration can worsen his condition.

He said the crown has no evidence that the applicant is a flight risk, will interfere with witnesses and has been held in contempt hence he applied that he be granted bail with conditions that would be set by the court.  


On the issue raised by the crown on eliminating the witness, ‘Schaza’ Matsebula, Mabila submitted that Matsenjwa could not have eliminated him since there are more witnesses to give evidence before court and wondered what purpose same could have served as more witnesses are there.

Mabila said three more witnesses have the same evidence as that of the deceased, arguing that there is nothing such as vital witness, as all witnesses are important to the crown.


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