A verification process was instituted when a “defence lawyer” tried to bribe his way through a case. This has led to his direct imprisonment.
Capt Christopher Singo of the Hawks said Ntate Manuel Mabesa, 53, appeared in the Bloemfontein Regional Court on Wednesday on charges of fraud, impersonating and perjury.
The case dates back to June 2014 when Mabesa approached the prosecutor and offered him R500 “as a thank you for not opposing bail” in a robbery case where Mabesa was the “defence lawyer”.
Singo said the prosecutor doubted Mabesa’s integrity and initiated a background check on him.
He found that his offices were at the Free State Bar council and he reported the matter to the Hawks for further investigation. A preliminary probe by the Hawks’ serious corruption investigation team revealed that Mabesa was admitted as an advocate by the bar council.
The high court was also approached for documentation – leading to the discovery that his degree from the University of Free State “was confirmed to be fraudulent after following the verification process”.
Mabesa was convicted and sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.