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Prosecutor back in the dock

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Inconsistencies and discrepancies in the testimony of the complainant and witnesses and witnesses, along with recordings entered into evidence presented to the court during the trial, were grounds for mitigation

Anele Kohlani.

THE FORMER State prosecutor who is charged with accepting a bribe after loaning money to an assault suspect is likely to know his fate later this year.

The accused, Anele Kohlani, returned to the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court yesterday, where he acknowledged lending money to Isaac Tholwane three years ago, knowing full well that such a transaction was illicit, but denied ever giving any assurances that charges would be dropped against the complainant.

Kohlani was arrested by the Hawks at the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on April 28, 2015 on charges of accepting a bribe of
R1 500 from Tholwane in return for the withdrawal of a case of assault against him.

During yesterday’s proceedings the former prosecutor’s legal representative, Ferdi van Heerden, pointed out that inconsistencies and discrepancies in the testimony of the complainant and witnesses, along with recordings entered into evidence presented to the court during the trial, were grounds for mitigation.

He further emphasised that, in contrast, the State had been unable to identify a single contradiction from his client.

Yesterday, Van Heerden told the court that Tholwane had presented various different versions regarding the circumstances leading up to the charge of assault against him and had also provided contradictory versions on how the transaction occurred on the day of Kohlani’s arrest.

“His testimony was not truthful nor reliable,” stated the defence attorney.

However, the State maintained that the only discrepancy between the complainant’s version of events and the accused’s, were the conditions for the loan, as Tholwane claimed to have been under the impression that the charges against him would be withdrawn in exchange for the R1 500 payment.

While testifying on his own behalf during the trial, Kohlani stated that the transaction was in fact a loan which he was expecting to be repaid with 30 percent interest.

Kohlani conceded that, at the time of the incident, he was well aware that prosecutors may not lend money to accused before the court, but personal financial difficulties had seen him disregard this regulation in order to subsidise his income.

He denied giving any guarantees that the charges against the complainant would be withdrawn, adding that he eventually waived the interest and was just seeking be refunded the R1500. However, Tholwane was dissatisfied, resulting in criminal charges.

The matter was postponed until October when the court will deliver its judgment.