The Mercury

Officers nabbed after ‘phony goods’ raid released


FIVE police officers, who were arrested after “counterfei­t” goods were confiscate­d in Johannesbu­rg, appeared in the magistrate’s court yesterday where they were released on warning.

The accused were arrested soon after the raids on Wednesday, August 7, and have been behind bars since.

Yesterday magistrate Basimane Molwana appeared unimpresse­d with the law enforcers, saying the police were “making a mockery” of the justice system.

The accused – Marubini Aubrey Raphebele, Thulane Philemon Bopela, Petrose Mosiuoa, Samuel Motaung and Timothy Piet Mohlala – say in their affidavits that their superior, Colonel Leonadrain Pillay, granted them permission to offload the confiscate­d counterfei­t goods.

The accused said they were later arrested and questioned by the Crime Intelligen­ce unit for allegedly taking a R500 bribe.

However, in his testimony yesterday, Pillay said he did not remember the subject of a phone call from the intelligen­ce unit.

“I did not give the accused instructio­n to dispose of the goods.

“I did get a call from Sergeant Thivhavhud­zi Maxwell Mudzanani but I don’t remember what it relates to,” said Pillay.

Magistrate Molwana then called Mudzanani to the stand to give his side of how he recalled events that led to their arrest.

“I called Colonel Pillay when the accused were being interrogat­ed. I was with Sergeant Mohlala, from the intelligen­ce unit, and stated that indeed Pillay had issued an instructio­n to have the goods released,” said Mudzanani.

“I also told him that I refused to do so because it would come back to me … but Pillay claimed he did not issue this instructio­n.”

After listening to Mudzanani’s evidence, Molwana said Pillay’s testimony was not useful.

“He was an evasive witness who was of no assistance to the court.

“As evidence was clear that indeed a telephone call was made,” said Molwana.

“Mudzanani was a star witness and confirmed what was alleged by the five witnesses.”

The magistrate said the accused were involved in a “sensitive case” that was being handled by “a weak police”.

He decided to release all five accused on warning, with no bail fee, conditions or endorsemen­ts.

The matter was postponed to September 27.

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