Hawks celebrate as corrupt magistrate jailed for 15 years

20 April 2018 - 16:18 By Penwell Dlamini
Acting Hawks head Yolisa Matakata.
Acting Hawks head Yolisa Matakata.
Image: Alaister Russell

The Hawks have celebrated the sentencing of a former magistrate to 15 years imprisonment for soliciting bribes from a person who was set to be extradited.

Former magistrate Matobela Kgomo was sentenced to effective 15 years in jail for his corrupt conduct by the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

Kgomo‚ 58‚ who practised as a magistrate in Randburg‚ was arrested by the Hawks’ Serious Corruption Investigating unit in December 2015. He was convicted of soliciting funds from a man who was due to be extradited to Botswana to face fraud charges.

Kgomo promised to assist the man to avoid being extradited provided he paid him a R1.2-million bribe. The man managed to raise about R90,000 and paid Kgomo as an initial payment. Arrangements for subsequent payments were then made and the man engaged the Hawks‚ culminating Kgomo’s arrest. At the time of his arrest he had just received R150,000 during an entrapment operation.

The Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court sentenced Kgomo to 30 years in total. He got 15 years for the first count of corruption related to the R90,000 payment‚ and 15 years for the second payment.

However‚ the sentences are to run concurrently‚ meaning the Kgomo is to serve effective sentence 15 years prison term.

Leave to appeal has been dismissed on both convictions and sentence.

The Acting National Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation Lieutenant-General Yolisa Matakata welcomed Kgomo’s sentencing.

“This is a ground-breaking sentence‚ it should serve as a deterrent and a warning to other judicial officers that they are not above the law. Assuming that other people of the same stature are also brought to justice‚ this will help to reduce perceptions of impunity‚ thereby bolstering our position as the Hawks and other law enforcement agencies that crime does not pay. We believe the sentence will go a long way in reinforcing the integrity and the dignity of the judiciary‚” said Matakata.