Accused cop’s many cases

2009-12-07 00:00

HOWICK police inspector Michael Sokhela has been labelled a “menace to society” and a “dodgy character” by a police source who asked not to be named.

Sokhela was arrested last week with two other suspects in connection with Dr Warwick Dorning’s murder.

Dorning was shot dead by three armed men at his farm Adamshurst near Howick on November 7.

Sokhela was reportedly found in possession of items stolen from the Dorning’s household. They were found hidden in his house.

But this is not the only case involving Sokhela.

“We can confirm that there are about 12 cases investigated against Sokhela, including internal investigations. Four of the cases are sub judice. It’s bad enough that we have a mammoth task of fighting crime but it’s worse when some of our own become suspects in criminal activities,” police spokewoman Inspector Joey Jeevan confirmed, adding that the law will take its course.

The Witness reported last week that a fourth suspect in the Dorning case was shot dead after brandishing a firearm at the police, and that those arrested were directly linked with three other farm attack cases.

Sokhela, a former member of the then South African Defence Force (SADF), and his alleged accomplices were remanded in custody by the Howick Magistrate’s Court last week. They will appear in court again today.

The police source said at one stage the inspector was involved in a shoot-out with the dog unit after failing to stop when he was instructed to do so. He is alleged to have been driving a state minibus and the source alleged that there were drugs in it.

He further alleged that several crimes in the Howick and Riet­vlei areas have not been solved because there are police members who are “rotten”.

“How do you explain the disappearance of dockets and failure by certain police officers to gather evidence on crime scenes?”

Residents in the Howick and surrounding areas welcomed the arrest of Sokhela, some stating that he had attended to two crime calls in the areas early this year, yet the cases had not been solved.

“How coincidental it is that the officer gets arrested for possessing stolen goods from Dr Dorning’s residence? We’ve always suspected that the slow rate of solving crimes in our area involves an inside person,” a resident said.

One resident said an intruder forced his way into his house through a broken window on August 21. He said there were blood and fingerprints everywhere as the intruder had cut his hand, yet the case was closed 10 days later due to “lack of evidence”.

Jeevan confirmed the shoot-out between the inspector and the dog unit. She said the incident took place on December 23, 2007, along the Mpophomeni main road in Howick.

Sokhela was flagged down while driving a state minibus, and allegations are that he didn’t stop. Gunfire ensued, but no one was hit.

Cases of attempted murder, reckless and negligent driving, unauthorised use of a state vehicle and defeating the ends of justice were opened by the dog unit against him. These have since been taken to the district public prosecutor for a decision on whether to prosecute.

On December 10, Sokhela will appear in the Howick Magistrate’s Court for other charges of negligent driving and driving under the influence of alcohol as well as being in possession of a state firearm while under the influence of alcohol.

In September 2008, cases of reckless and negligent driving, defeating the ends of justice and unauthorised use of a state vehicle were investigated against him after he allegedly misused and damaged a state vehicle, claiming he had been attacked when questioned about it.

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