Tuesday, 1 October 2019

GOVT HIKES CRIMINAL FINES


GOVERNMENT has, with immediate effect, increased fines for criminal offences by up to 200 percent in a new scale of fines announced in terms of the Finance Act and the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

The new fines were published in the Government Gazette under Statutory Instrument 209 of 2019 (Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act) (Standard Scale of Fines) Notice, 2019.

According to the new figures, an accused person will now pay a minimum of $40 admission of guilt fine for Level One offences from a previous charge of $20 and a maximum of $$30 000 for Level 14 offences from $10 000. 

Fines in Level One are for minor offences while Level 14 for serious offences carries the highest amount.

“The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs in consultation with the Minister of Finance, in terms of section 280 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Chapter 9:23 as read with section 24(1) of the Finance (No.2) Act, 2019, hereby make the following notice: standard scale of fines level 1 is $40, level 2 is $60, level 3 is $100, level 4 is $300, level 5 is $600, level 6 is $1 200, level 7 is $2 400, level 8 is $3 600, level 9 is $4 800, level 10 is $6 000, level 11is $7 500, level 12 is $9 000, level 13 is $15 000, level 14 is $30 000,” read the S1 209/19.

Section 35 of the Finance Act reviewed Levels 1, 2 and 3 of the standard scale of fines in the Criminal Law Code with effect from January 1, 2017.

In January this year, the police increased the maximum fine for traffic offences to $700 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months. 

Announcing the increase last December, Finance Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said the increase was meant to promote a road safety culture by adhering to road traffic regulations and act as a deterrent to criminal behaviour.

Recently, the Government increased tariffs of court fees by over 150 percent, a development that has seen marriage licence fees increasing to $100 and liquor licence applications going up to $1 500. The increases are contained in Statutory Instrument 188 of 2019 (Magistrates Court (Civil) (Amendment) Rules, 2019 (No.1). The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Ziyambi Ziyambi said his ministry was in the process of reviewing all fees to make them relevant to the economic environment.  Herald

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