ATC101123: Report Provisional suspension from office of Magistrate L Skrenya
Report of the Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Development on the provisional suspension from office of Magistrate L Skrenya, dated 23 November 2010:
The Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Development, having considered the report on the provisional suspension from office of a magistrate, Mr L Skrenya, a magistrate and judicial head at Cala, tabled by the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development, in terms of the Magistrates Act, 1993 (Act no 90 of 1993), reports as follows:
1. On 5 August 2009, the Director of Public Prosecutions:Transkei directed that Mr Skrenya be prosecuted on a charge of fraud.
2. On 18 September 2009, Mr Skrenya appeared in the Cala District Court. The criminal case was remanded to 21 and 22 September 2010 for trial.
3. The criminal charge emanates from misrepresentations Mr Skrenya made to his sub-cluster head. Mr Skrenya claimed that on 24 April 2009, he had used his private vehicle on an official trip from Cala toDordrecht and submitted a claim for a transport allowance. Mr Skrenya, in fact, used a government vehicle for this trip. He therefore committed fraud by submitting a claim that he was not entitled to.
4. A preliminary investigation conducted into other complaints filed against Mr Skrenya found prima facie evidence that, on 12 May 2009, he irregularly refused to adhere to a request by the Prosecutor to withdraw a criminal charge against an accused before a plea was tendered, meru moto postponed the case to 30 June 2009 and ordered that the accused be kept in custody. This decision was later set aside by the High Court on special review. His conduct resulted in the Minster of Justice and Constitutional Development being sued for damages.
5. It is further alleged that Mr Skrenya held a criminal court which was not properly constituted, and that he postponed various criminal cases in chambers in the absence of the prosecutor.
6. On 26 October 2009, the Commission informed Mr Skrenya that it was contemplating recommending that he be provisionally suspended from office pending the outcome of an investigation into his fitness to hold office. He was requested to show cause why the decision should not be taken.
7. On 26 August 2010, the Commission, having considered Mr Skrenya’s response, resolved to advise the Minister to provisionally suspend him from office in terms of section 13(3)(a) of the Act.
8. The Commission is of the view that the alleged misconduct against Mr Skrenya is of such a serious nature as to make it inappropriate for him to perform the functions of a magistrate while the allegations are being investigated. It would also be inappropriate for a judicial officer, appearing as an accused before a court of law on a charge of fraud to still sit on the Bench.
The Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Development, having considered the report on the provisional suspension from office of Magistrate L Skrenya, recommends that the National Council of Provinces confirms the provisional suspension from the office of Magistrate L Skrenya.
Report to be considered
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