Top cop cleared of theft charge

2012-08-07 14:22

A top Mpumalanga cop has been acquitted of stealing R1 800 from an ATM bombing suspect he had arrested last year April.

Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Leonard Hlathi said Mpumalanga Organised Crime Unit head Obed Ngwenya (47) had been cleared by the Mdutshane Magistrates’ Court.

Ngwenya found himself on the wrong side of the law when he arrested Shelley-boy Sibanyoni (29) on April 6 2011.

Sibanyoni alleged that when he was arrested, he gave the R1 800 to Ngwenya to give to his brother.

But when Sibanyoni was released after interrogation, his brother said Ngwenya had not given him the cash.

Ngwenya subsequently deposited R900 into Sibanyoni’s account but Sibanyoni laid a charge because he allegedly had not received all his money.
Hlathi said Ngwenya was cleared on Friday.

“It appeared that [Sibanyoni’s] witnesses were not reliable and tendered contradictory testimony before the court. Some even confessed to the magistrate that they were roped in to form part of the plot to topple Ngwenya,” Hlathi said.

“Ngwenya has been saying that the claims against him were malicious, baseless and unfounded.”

During the trial, Ngwenya was accused of trying to derail the theft charge by arresting Sibanyoni on May 11 for an armed robbery charge that had been withdrawn in 2007.

When Ngwenya arrested Sibanyoni, the theft case was due in court on May 13. That caused an outcry among Sibanyoni’s family members and Ngwenya’s colleagues in the Hawks who had been alleging that he was “untouchable” because he was in provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Thulani Ntombela’s good books.

The Hawks members claimed that other managers who fell out with Ntombela had been charged for travel claim fraud while Ngwenya was not charged on any complaints against him.

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