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Saved by the wedding bells

Christinah Motlhabane
NARROW ESCAPE: Chaminuka (mustard top) nearly missed her special day

Bribing bride-to-be nearly misses her big day

With her wedding set for 29 December back in Bulawayo, a Zimbabwean woman looked doomed to miss her big day after falling foul of the law.

Caught trying to bribe a local cop, Lydia Chaminuka, 33, received an early wedding present on Tuesday, when Francistown Magistrates Court spared the bride-to-be from prison, hitting her with a P3, 000 fine instead.

Chaminuka’s troubles began when her fiancé’s car was impounded at the border near Matsiloje on 14 December, after officials caught him with illegitimate cigarettes.

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Required to pay P20, 000 to get his vehicle back, Chaminuka tried to cut a deal for her man, phoning the officer who had confiscated the car and offering him P2, 000 to return the wheels.

A sting operation was hastily set-up, and Chaminuka was caught re-handed trying to bribe an officer of the law.

She was charged with Official Corruption as well as entering the country illegally.

Pleading guilty and for mercy, the suspect explained with their wedding fast approaching, she had been desperate to help her soon-to-be-husband get out of his mess and wasn’t thinking straight.

“The reason why I came to Botswana illegally is that I wanted to do some peace jobs as in our country is very difficult. I wanted to fend for my children,” she added.

Before passing sentence, Magistrate Game Mooketse noted unlawful entry into the country was becoming a big problem, especially as many of these individual end up committing other offences.

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Weighing up her options, the Magistrate finally ruled, “You are fined P2, 000 for Official Corruption failure to pay you shall go to prison for six months. For illegal entering you are fined P1, 000 failure to pay you shall go to prison for six months.”

With the deadline for paying the fines set at 29 December (the same day she is due down the aisle!), Chaminuka hurriedly forked up the cash straight after court adjourned; she can no concentrate on her wedding once again!

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