Cop wanted money for booze - claim

2013-06-20 21:54

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Cape Town - A Western Cape constable tried to extort liquor money from a taxi driver allegedly caught with perlemoen, the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court heard on Thursday.

Constable Mjatya Bukani, 35, and reservist Nontando Mhlabeni, 40, pleaded not guilty to a main count of extortion, and an alternative count of corruption.

According to the charge sheet, they were on patrol on 8 December 2010, when they searched a taxi driven by Wanana Gwadino, and allegedly found a bag of perlemoen.

Prosecutor Xolile Jonas said while taking Gwadino and his two passengers to the Khayelitsha police station, Bukani demanded money for liquor from the driver if he wanted his taxi back.

Gwadino first offered Bukani R300, which was "too little", and then R500, which Bukani accepted.

Bukani then allegedly assured Gwadino that if he paid the R500, he would not be arrested and the confiscated perlemoen and the taxi would be returned to him.

However, at the police station, Bukani allegedly said the R500 was not enough, and he was offered an additional R500.

Gwadino was then allegedly taken to an ATM to withdraw the second R500.

According to the charge sheet, Gwadino and his two passengers were locked in a holding cell, and later released without being charged.

Road Traffic Act violation

Andre Pienaar, for the defence, told the court Bukani was on patrol on the day, when a Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta) taxi driver complained Gwadino was encroaching on his route, in violation of the Road Traffic Act.

"My client advised the driver to complain at the police station, and not to himself, and my client then continued with his patrol," Pienaar said.

Later that day, Bukani saw Gwadino's taxi on the road, and confronted him. Bukani told him to report to the police station.

When Bukani arrived at the police station, Gwandino and his passengers were locked in a cell, but no one at the charge office knew what the charges were.

Pienaar said Bukani went to the Codeta taxi rank to ask what Gwadino had done wrong.

He was asked to merely warn the errant driver not to encroach on the Codeta route and not charge him. Gwadino was released accordingly.

Pienaar said Bukani was later informed, as he booked off duty, that a bag of perlemoen had been found in his patrol vehicle.

Bukani denied any knowledge of the perlemoen, saying the entire incident had to do with the unlawful encroachment on the Codeta taxi route.

The trial continues.

Read more on:    police  |  cape town  |  corruption

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