‘Dagga cops’ charged

2011-02-21 13:53

A woman police officer and her cousin, a police constable, are to go on trial at the end of June for stealing dagga worth an estimated street value of more than R1 million from a police station.

Lieutenant-Colonel Princess Benjamin (44), formerly the commander of the Macassar Police Station, and Constable Nosipho Sweetness Pikini (33) of the Philippi East Police Station, appeared in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court today. Their trial was set down for June 30.

According to the charge sheet, dagga and other exhibits seized during police investigations are stored at police stations and recorded in a register.

Benjamin, as the station commander, was responsible for the safe-keeping of exhibits stored at the Macassar police station.
She also had to oversee the disposal of exhibits when police procedures required their disposal.

Twenty-two bags of dagga weighing 590.56 kg, and worth an estimated R1.2 million on the street were in storage at the Macassar police station.

According to prosecutor Faith Jason-Twala, Pikini was on sick leave at her home in Eastern Cape in 2009, when Benjamin asked her to urgently report to her at Macassar.

On Pikini’s arrival, Benjamin ordered subordinate police officials to load the bags of dagga bags onto a police vehicle, for Pikini to take to premises known as Finewood Veneers, to be destroyed.

It is alleged that, while the subordinates were loading the dagga, Benjamin secretly arranged with her cousin to sell the dagga and share the proceeds with her.

It is alleged that Benjamin later falsely certified that the dagga had been destroyed in her presence at Finewood Veneers.

Both women now face five charges – theft, a violation of the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act, a violation of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, defeating the ends of justice, and fraud.

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