Woman ac­cused of brib­ing of­fi­cial gets bail

Afro Voice (Western Cape) - - News - BECKER SEMELA beck­ers@afro­tone.co.za

THE 31­year-old Ethiopian woman, ar­rested in con­nec­tion with steal­ing elec­tric­ity and try­ing to bribe a Centlec of­fi­cial has been re­leased on bail.

Be­bush Sodebo Agi­die briefly ap­peared in the Bloem­fontein Mag­is­trate’s Court on Wednesday where she was granted R8000 bail and her case was post­poned to July 6 for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Centlec spokesper­son Lele Ma­matu said the woman was caught al­legedly tam­per­ing with a Centlec elec­tric­ity me­ter.

He said they wel­comed the ar­rest af­ter the woman al­legedly tried to bribe their rev­enue pro­tec­tion team.

“A fine of R39000 was is­sued to the owner, a for­eign na­tional and she at­tempted to pay a R3500 bribe. Our of­fi­cials re­ported the mat­ter to the po­lice and the woman was im­me­di­ately ar­rested by the Hawks,” he said.

He said the ar­rest came a year af­ter the suc­cess­ful con­vic­tion of a man from Bot­sha­belo who was handed a five­year sen­tence last March for elec­tric­ity theft.

“He was found guilty of con­tra­ven­ing the pro­vi­sions of Act No 18 of the Crim­i­nal Mat­ters Amend­ment Act of 2015, para­graph 4, Sec­tion 3 (1) and (b) 105, Sched­ule 2 un­der the Crim­i­nal Pro­ce­dures Act of 1997.

“Elec­tric­ity theft, me­ter tam­per­ing and vandalism of valu­able in­fra­struc­ture is con­sid­ered a se­ri­ous of­fence in SA and any other per­son or in­sti­tu­tion found guilty of steal­ing elec­tric­ity, tam­per­ing and van­dal­is­ing valu­able in­fra­struc­ture can be sen­tenced to max­i­mum jail term pe­riod of 10 years,” Ma­matu said.

Centlec CEO An­dries Mgoqi urged all peo­ple and cor­po­rates to re­frain from us­ing any form of bribery with of­fi­cials who are do­ing their work.

“Those found on the wrong side of the law at­tempt­ing to bribe our of­fi­cials will face the full might of the law and for of­fi­cials who have ac­cepted a bribe there will be se­ri­ous con­se­quences.

“How­ever, I would like to ap­plaud the good work done by the mem­bers of the rev­enue team who were in­volved in the oper­a­tion, which re­sulted in the for­eign na­tional woman be­ing ar­rested,” he said.

Mgoqi said, in the mean­time, they were on a drive to col­lect rev­enue, es­pe­cially from var­i­ous busi­nesses, in­sti­tu­tions and com­pa­nies that still owed on their elec­tric­ity bills.

“The amount owed by var­i­ous busi­nesses and com­pa­nies on elec­tric­ity ex­ceeds R100m, these in­clude the towns of Kopanong, Mo­hokare and Mantsopa mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

“While we ap­pre­ci­ate and wel­come some of the busi­nesses, in­sti­tu­tions and com­pa­nies that are keep­ing up with their ac­count, we ap­peal to those still in ar­rears to make ar­range­ments to set­tle or have their ac­counts up to date. Fail­ure to do so means not only are we go­ing to dis­con­nect their elec­tric­ity, they will be handed over to debt col­lec­tors,” Mgoqi said.

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