IT IS business as usual for a Barberton magistrate who was last week hauled before court on charges of fraud.

Magistrate Lucky Mhlanga allegedly abused his powers and applied for an itemised billing from Vodacom in order to investigate his wife's romantic affairs.

Ironically Mhlanga appeared with former top cop Tony Joseph Ndinisa who arrested Mark Scott Crossley after the death of Nelson Chisale, after he was thrown into a lion's enclosure a few years ago.

Mhlanga and Ndinisa, a former police superintendent, were not asked to plead to charges of fraud when they appeared before the Tzaneen magistrate's court in Limpopo last Thursday.

The case was postponed and both men were warned to appear in court again on September 13 for trial.

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Captain Leonard Hlathi said Mhlanga and Ndinisa allegedly misused their powers in 2008 when they applied for an itemised billing from Vodacom in an attempt to investigate alleged love affairs of Mhlanga's wife.

"In doing so the duo needed a valid police number and they therefore falsified an armed robbery case number of Calcutta police station," Hlathi said yesterday.

Ndinisa was the head of detectives at the Calcutta police station before resigning last year.

Mhlanga's wife, who was a police captain when the incident took place, allegedly discovered the printouts from Vodacom in her house and reported the matter to the police.

Investigations took place and the two were served with warnings to appear in the Tzaneen magistrate's court in Limpopo though the case was opened in Calcutta in Mpumalanga.

"We had to find a neutral magistrate's court with no connection to either of the accused," Hlathi said.

He also confirmed that an itemised billing was able to show proof of calls and messages for specific cellphones under investigation.

"Through the itemised billing system police are able to trace calls and messages of individuals under investigations, but that is done in accordance with the law as well as the availability of a case number for the intended investigations," Hlathi said.

When Sowetan called Barberton magistrate's court yesterday a woman who answered the call said Mhlanga was presiding in the Komatipoort periodical court for the day.