Cops on trial for defrauding SAPS

2014-01-21 00:00

TWO Pietermaritzburg policemen are on trial for allegedly defrauding the SAPS of R109 500 over a three-year period by submitting false informer fee claims.

Mbongwa Johannes Dladla (46) and Vusumuzi Johan Madonsela (41) pleaded not guilty to 16 charges of fraud or alternatively theft by false pretences before regional court magistrate Bhekizitha Phoswa yesterday.

At the time of the alleged fraud they were attached to the detective unit at Mountain Rise police station.

The case grabbed the headlines last June when the state withdrew charges in connection with the alleged scam against well-known senior Mountain Rise detective Pipes Haffajee, who had vigorously protested his innocence and claimed to be the victim of professional jealousy.

The case that the state will set out to prove against Dladla and Madonsela is that they systematically lodged false claims for informers fees in respect of three people — Bongani Mbambo, Sibongile Christina Ngongoma and Nkululeko Cyril Mswane — on various occasions between August 2006 and August 2009 from which they benefited to the tune of R109 500.

The prosecution alleges that these three people were never registered as informers, did not provide information to the two accused, and never received any money from the South African Police Service.

Dladla and Madonsela deny the allegations.

Dladla’s advocate Martin Krog told Phoswa his client maintains the three people referred to in the charge sheet were in fact registered informers for the SAPS.

Advocate Jan du Plessis, who represents Madonsela, handed a statement to the court in which Madonsela disputed all the allegations made against him by the state in relation to the fraud charges.

Captain Andrew Farr from Alexandra Road police station described to the court in detail yesterday how the informer system works and how fees are ultimately paid to deserving informers via investigating officers, while at the same time protecting the identities of the informers.

He said once an investigating officer has identified and recruited a person as an informer in a specific case, a form is filled out which contains the person’s true identity and all his personal information, as well as his or her thumb prints and signature.

This information is, however, kept on file under lock and key at all times by the commanding officer of the police station concerned.

The investigating officer — who is also referred to as the informer’s “handler” — carries a separate “operational” folder, which doesn’t contain the informer’s identity, and in which he records all information received from the informer and makes notes of whether it results in “successes or recoveries”.

Farr said that before they are registered, informers have to sign a form acknowledging that they are providing information voluntarily, and that they accept they are not SAPS employees and are not entitled to a salary or remuneration.

If an investigating officer is of the opinion that the information provided warrants a reward, he then submits a claim on behalf of the informer.

The money has to be paid directly to the informer at a location of his or her choice and is signed for by two people, one of whom is the investigating officer in question, a co-handler or the commanding officer.

The case is proceeding.

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