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We left E45 000, chickens at Sobantu’s residence - victims

His theft by false pretences trial is proving to be a tell-it-all by some of the aspirant army recruits who were allegedly duped by Dlamini and paid hefty sums of money to be recruited into the army.

Some of the complainants were in court on Friday where they narrated events that led to them being conned by Dlamini. 

The matter was before Magistrate Mthokozisi Dlamini while Fakazi Mngomezulu prosecuted. 

The witnesses told the court how they, on different instances, left E20 000 and E25 000 at the gate of Army Commander Sobantu Dlamini’s residence at Coates Valley in Manzini.

They alleged in court that they did not only leave the money at the commander’s residence but village chickens too as tetfulo as demanded by Zaga.

However, it was not clear if the money and tetfulo reached the army commander but from the submission of the witnesses, they left same with the soldiers at the entrance.

Zaga pleaded guilty to the two charges of theft by false pretences for defrauding two people money amounting to E45 500 by promising to secure them a job in the army.  

Sipho Tfwala, one of the victims who was conned E20 500, told the court when leading evidence that he met Zaga through his nephew Njabulo Mamba since they were friends with the renowned artist. 

Tfwala said he heard that the artist was related to the army commander as he was alleged to be his grandchild. 

Tfwala said with the help of Mamba ,he requested Zaga to introduce him to the army commander so he may ask for a job in the army. 

Facilitated

He said after some time, Zaga told him (Tfwala) that he had facilitated an appointment with the army commander.

Tfwala said indeed they went to the army commander’s residence but they couldn’t see him as they were informed that he was busy. Tfwala said on April 11, the gospel artist called and told him that he had talked to the army commander.

Zaga told Tfwala that he was supposed to come to the commander’s house with E20 000.

  He continued to tell the court that they arrived at the gate of the army commander’s place at Coates Valley and there were soldiers guarding the place who told them to wait outside. 

It was then that Zaga asked to make a call to the commander from one of the soldiers and after the brief phone call, the gospel artist, according to Tfwala, was escorted by the soldiers into the army commander’s compound.

  He said after some time, Zaga came back and informed him that the army commander was sick so he cannot see him (Tfwala) but requested that he be given the money. 

Tfwala said Zaga went back again with the E20 000 and sweet potatoes which were gifts for the commander ‘tetfulo’.

Tfwala said after that, he received a call from the accused who told him that the army commander was asking that another E1 000 be added on the E20 000, claiming it was money for petrol as the army commander was going to pick them up near the post office in Manzini to Mbuluzi Army Barracks.

 Money

Tfwala said at that time, he did not have enough money so he only gave the accused E500. 

He stated that after that he was told that they will be seeing the army commander in Siteki during His Majesty King Mswati III’s birthday celebrations.

Tfwala said, however, when the day arrived and the event was over with everyone leaving, it dawned to him that he may have been conned.

 

...I also visited army commander’s residence

Another complainant who wanted to join the army claimed that he also visited the army commander’s place of abode.

He too, was made to pay E25 000 to be able to join the army.

Njabuliso Mamba told the court that Zaga used his mobile phone and called a number that was saved under ‘army commander’ and put him on loudspeaker. 

Mamba said he then facilitated the deal with the ‘commander’ over the phone and agreed on monies and how they were going to meet. Mamba, narrating his ordeal, said he first met the gospel artist way back in 2013 during one of his events as he was performing where Mamba was working. 

Mamba said after a few years, he noted that Zaga had used the army commander’s picture on his WhatsApp profile picture. He said he asked how he knew the commander to which Zaga told him that he was his grandfather. 

Accused 

Mamba said he then used that opportunity and asked the accused to help him meet the army commander so that he can request for a job in the army. 

Mamba said in April, he received a call from Zaga saying he must come to Manzini as he had spoken to the commander about the army job deal. 

Mamba, who lives at Ndlalambi, stated that he was told to bring ‘tetfulo’ for the army commander and he did as told and brought three village chickens.  

Mamba told the court that when he arrived in Manzini, he met with Zaga at the post office and was in the company of others who seemed to be also job seekers. 

Mamba said they then went to Coates Valley to see the army commander but unfortunately couldn’t see him. 

Mamba said they were told to leave the chickens which were meant to be gifts at the gate. 

He said while they were going back the accused made a call to a number that was saved as ‘army commander’ and put the phone on loud speaker and he let Mamba talk with the ‘army commander’.

Court

 “Watsi ngitsini kuye ngatsi Nkhosi ngicela umsebenti. Watsi ngiphetseni ngatsi Nkhosi ngiphetse E25 000,” Mamba narrated to court the conversation he had with the person who was identified as the army commander. 

When asked by the court if the person he was talking to was really the army commander, Mamba said he doesn’t think it was him because afterwards the person used a private number whenever they communicated. 

The accused also stated that he wouldn’t know because he had never heard the army commander speaking.

Mamba said the same person who called him with a private number told him to give Zaga the money they agreed on. He said he met Zaga on April 4, at Mahhala and gave him E25 000. 

Mamba said he had received orders from the caller that he must tell the accused to take the money to Nokwane. 

He said later on the day, he got a call from the private number thanking him for the money. 

Informed

The following day, Mamba said he was taken to Phocweni Clinic where he was made to do medicals by the accused. 

Mamba said, however, when he was done with other tests and was about to do blood tests, the accused informed him that he had received a call that they must leave the place, which is something that puzzled him. 

He said he was told that the army commander informed the accused that they must come back the following day. 

Mamba said on  April 24, he was later informed that he will be taken in with the group which comes from Royalty and was asked to add E1 000, which was going to be used for fuel.

Mamba said it was the last time he heard from the accused person as he never saw him again.

 
 

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