Police arrested allegedly demanding bribe of R30 000 for smuggled cigarettes.
A police constable attached to the Waterval SAPS, Lesley Netshapala (35), appeared in the Waterval Magistrate’s Court last Thursday on a charge of demanding a bribe of R30 000. He will appear in court again on the 27th of March. He was released on bail of R1 500.
Netshapala was arrested in Valdezia last Wednesday when a man accused of cigarette smuggling claimed he had demanded a bribe. The policeman stopped a vehicle delivering smuggled cigarettes, but instead of arresting the smuggler, he allegedly demanded a R30 000 bribe, said Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi. The smuggler was released when he got a relative to deliver the money. He later reported the matter to the police.
According to the complainant, he was driving along the Vuwani road when he was stopped by the police. He was allegedly later approached by a single police officer, who told him he was being arrested for smuggling cigarettes. The victim said that the police officer then phoned another policeman, who came and handcuffed him. When they were on their way, the policemen allegedly demanded money from him. He told them that he had only R5 000 in his possession. The victim further said that the police took the R5 000 and demanded another R30 000. “I phoned my friend and my wife to raise the money and directed them to send the money to Valdezia. I pleaded with him (Netshapala) not to make the amount R30 000, but he said foreigners had lots of money.”
The policeman was later arrested on suspicion of corruption and defeating the ends of justice. The police also recovered R10 000 from Netshapala.
Mulaudzi said the alleged smuggler would also be investigated, even though he was now a witness. He had not been arrested. Mulaudzi confirmed that R10 000 was recovered from the “cigarette smuggler” who was allegedly given the cash back by the suspect, who was trying to prevent the complainant from opening a case.
Brigadier Mulaudzi condemned the involvement of police officials in criminal activities. He reiterated that those who were still involved in criminal or corrupt activities would be exposed and “dealt with accordingly.”