Ex-cops sen­tenced for kid­nap­ping pair


TWO former Sy­den­ham po­lice sta­tion of­fi­cers were yes­ter­day sen­tenced to five-year terms for kid­nap­ping and ex­tor­tion.

Cap­tain Manivel Mu­ru­gen and War­rant Of­fi­cer Raj Sewraj were con­victed in Septem­ber for ex­tort­ing R15 900 from Thabani Mas­ter Mak­haza and his wife, Siphosethu Nd­zobe, of Sy­den­ham, on Novem­ber 12, 2014.

The cou­ple said they were taken from their home that evening by Mu­ru­gen, Sewraj and po­lice re­servist Niza­mud­din Is­mail. They laid charges against the of­fi­cers the night after their kid­nap­ping.

They were threat­ened with ar­rest for theft, un­der false pre­tences.

Nd­zobe was also told to keep quiet or they would be killed.

Ac­cord­ing to the State’s ev­i­dence, the cou­ple were driven from their home in the back of a po­lice van.

Nd­zobe was dropped off at the po­lice sta­tion, where she was kept in a cell for hours.

Mak­haza, a mo­ti­va­tional speaker, had al­ready given the po­lice of­fi­cers R10 000 that he had with him, which he had planned to use to pay for a venue where he was hav­ing an event.

How­ever, the of­fi­cers wanted more money and drove him to an ATM in Over­port to with­draw cash.

Mak­haza was only able to with­draw R2 900 be­cause he had a daily with­drawal limit of R3 000 and had al­ready with­drawn R100 ear­lier in the day.

He was kept in the ve­hi­cle un­til after mid­night when the po­lice­men made him with­draw R3 000 more.

They then dropped him off at the road­side to find his own way home.

On the way, he met po­lice from an­other unit who as­sisted him, and he opened a case against the po­lice of­fi­cers in the early hours.

The trauma they had gone through that night had de­stroyed their lives and busi­nesses, said Nd­zobe.

She said she was paral­ysed by fear and un­der stress.

Video footage show­ing the of­fi­cers and Mak­haza with­draw­ing money in Over­port cor­rob­o­rated his ev­i­dence.

The po­lice of­fi­cers tes­ti­fied they had been help­ing Is­mail get back money owed to him by the cou­ple.

How­ever, Is­mail de­nied the cou­ple owed him money and said he had had no deal­ings with them.

Is­mail said he had ac­com­pa­nied Mu­ru­gen and Sewraj as of­fi­cial po­lice of­fi­cers and had acted on their in­struc­tions.

Mag­is­trate Nan­nette Otto ac­cepted Is­mail’s ver­sion and re­jected the ev­i­dence of Mu­ru­gen and Sewraj. She ac­quit­ted Is­mail of all charges.

She also re­jected the ev­i­dence of the of­fi­cers that the cou­ple had agreed to ac­com­pany them to the po­lice sta­tion, where a de­tec­tive was to help re­solve the mat­ter.

She ques­tioned why the cou­ple would agree to be trans­ported in the back of the po­lice van when they had their own ve­hi­cle in their yard.

Mu­ru­gen and Sewraj were granted leave to ap­peal against their con­vic­tions and sen­tences.

Their bail was ex­tended pend­ing the out­come of the ap­peal.

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