Mbabane: Pro-democracy Members of parliament, Mduduzi ‘Bacede’ Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube are set to spend more time in prison as their bail application was dismissed by Judge Mumcy Dlamini on Monday.
The two MPs are at the front of democratic calls and were arrested and are facing charges of allegedly contravening the Suppression of Terrorism Act of 2008, while Mabuza faces a further charge of contravening Regulation 4 of the Disaster Management (COVID-19) Regulations 2020 under the Disaster Management Act of 2006. They are alleged to have committed these crimes in June this year.
Justice Dlamini issued her ruling during a virtual sitting of the court, despite the fact that the defense had requested that their clients be physically brought to court so that they could be able to consult with them in real-time during the proceedings.
Last week, during the hearing of arguments of the bail application the state, had asked the court not to release the duo because they were a flight risk. It said, if found guilty, they faced the possibility of being sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, and such a possible sentence was enough for them to want to flee. The State also pointed out that both accused were business people who could easily raise the funds to skip the country and evade trial.
Meanwhile, during the argument of the bail application, Advocate Mduduzi Mabila who was representing the applicants argued that the Crown failed to substantiate how the applicants were a flights risk, how they would interfere with the Crown’s witnesses, and that they had the propensity to commit similar offenses when admitted to bail.
Mabila submitted earlier that the refusal to grant bail and detention of an accused should be in the interest of justice where one or more of the following were established; where there is a likelihood that the accused if released on bail may endanger the safety of the public or any particular person, where there is a likelihood that the accused if released on bail may attempt to evade trial, where there is a likelihood that if the accused is released on bail he will interfere with Crown’s witnesses and where there is a likelihood that there accused will influence witnesses.
Advocate Mabila has further submitted that the common cause facts were that the applicants were Members of Parliament, they operated businesses in the Kingdom and had families and as such, they were firmly rooted in the Kingdom of Eswatini. He argued that whenever a person was firmly rooted in a particular kingdom he was of right, unless shown otherwise, admitted to bail.