SENTENCES FOR CORRUPTION

S v WANG AND ANOTHER 2018 (1) SACR 426 (NWM)

Corruption-sentence — Offering incentives to employee of mining company to persuade employer to purchase machinery from foreign manufacturer — Representatives of manufacturer sentenced to 10 and five years’ imprisonment, respectively — Sentences confirmed on appeal.

 

The appellants, two Chinese nationals, appealed against the sentences imposed on them in a regional magistrates’ court for two counts of corruption. The first appellant was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment on the first count and to five years’ imprisonment on the second count; and the second appellant, the interpreter for the first appellant, was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on each count. The sentences were ordered to run concurrently.

They pleaded guilty and, in a statement handed into court in terms of s 112 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977, admitted that, after they had exhibited their employer’s mining machinery at a trade fair in Johannesburg, they invited the employee of a mining company and his family to dinner at a restaurant where they handed out gifts to them to the value of R70 000. They also offered the employee 5% commission on the sale of goods to his employer and later increased this to 10%. In addition, they gave him a credit card (in the name of another person) for his personal use and to cover his expenses in securing business for the Chinese principal.

The appellants were arrested after a further meeting with their putative partner that had been arranged in cooperation with the police. It was contended, inter alia, on their behalf, that the credit card could never have been used by the employee as it had a different person’s name on it. It was merely a clumsy arrangement that could not contribute anything material to the recipient. It was also contended that the court a quo had erred in describing the appellants as ‘filthy rich’ when they were merely employees of the Chinese company.

Held, that a thorough analysis of the record of proceedings revealed that there had been no misdirection on the part of the trial court. The fact that it did not specifically mention in the judgment that it took into consideration the factors referred to by counsel did not necessarily mean that the court had overlooked those facts. (See [24] – [26].)

Held, further, that the sentences imposed were neither grossly nor shockingly inappropriate in the circumstances. (See [38].) The appeals were dismissed.

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