Arrest of Mpumalanga Hawks boss 'a plot'
Mbombela - The arrest of Mpumalanga Hawks boss Colonel Obed Ngwenya has been blamed on a plot by colleagues to bring him down.
Ngwenya appeared in the Mdutjana Magistrate's Court in Siyabuswa last week on charges of stealing R1 800 during the arrest of a suspected ATM bomber.
He was not asked to plead and was released on warning until his next appearance on July 9.
His lawyer Danie Schutte told African Eye News Service that the alleged plot against Ngwenya was hatched in 2009 when 24 members of the Mpumalanga organised crime unit were implicated in stealing Mandrax worth R3.75m from a locked storeroom at Nelspruit police station.
At the time, Ngwenya headed the unit.
“This is a plot by my client's colleagues to bring him down and [disrupt] his good work of curbing crime. We have proof that he is a victim of a plot,” Schutte said.
He insisted that the State had no case against Ngwenya, who intends to plead not guilty.
Following the 2009 Mandrax theft, the Mpumalanga organised crime unit was dismantled and the 24 police officers were deployed to less influential police stations across the province.
A day after the unit was disbanded, Ngwenya started receiving death threats.
The third day after the unit was disbanded, Ngwenya was shot in an ambush at his house in Middelburg. He had just stepped out at about 06:30 to empty a dustbin and was walking back towards the house when two men ambushed him.
Ngwenya was wounded in the leg and arm before managing to get into his house.
At the time, provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Leonard Hlathi boasted that: "If the suspects are from within the unit, they should know that they are just a small group against a big unit."
But no arrests have ever been made.
Hlathi confirmed this week, however, that two suspects in Ngwenya's shooting were found dead and burned inside a car a few days after the attempt on Ngwenya’s life.
He was unable to provide further information.
"I will have to go and find out about the progress made in this case. I can only confirm that the case is still on and that two suspects were found dead in a burnt car," said Hlathi.
Meanwhile, Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela said Ngwenya has been served with letters intending to suspend him from work.
Polela said the State had strong evidence in the theft case against Ngwenya.
He denied media reports quoting him as saying the State also had evidence implicating Ngwenya in other crimes.