Former Hawks officer jailed for 10 years

2015-04-24 15:34
Jail bars. (File photo, AP)

Jail bars. (File photo, AP)

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Cape Town - A former Hawks officer who took a R500 bribe during an undercover police operation was effectively jailed for 10 years on Friday.

Former captain Siyaza Patrick Siyale, 56, was sentenced to six years on a charge of extortion, two for theft and two for defeating the administration of justice.

He appeared in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court, before Magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg, who said the three sentences would not run concurrently.

Siyale was attached to the Commercial Crime Unit in Cape Town.

His partner in commercial crime investigations, Wilfred Mentoor, 30, a detective constable, was effectively jailed for eight months only, after which he will be released into correctional supervision involving house arrest, as suggested by legal aid defence lawyer Hayley Lawrence.

Black dollar scam

Mentoor was found guilty of theft and defeating the administration of justice.

On the theft charge, Mentoor was sentenced to four years correctional supervision, of which he will serve only eight months.

For defeating the ends of justice, he was sentenced to an additional four years, wholly suspended for five years.

The magistrate said the sentences had to send out the message to the community that crime did not pay.

The case arose from the involvement of victim Nicodemus Solly Moeng, in the so-called black dollar scam in August 2011.

At the time, Moeng was the president of the French South Africa Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

According to the charge sheet a Congolese “investor”, David Kilato, duped Moeng into parting with R300 000 for a “lucrative investment”.

Undercover police operation

In return, Moeng was to receive four lock-up safes, supposedly filled with US dollars. The safes in fact contained black pieces of paper cut to the size of US dollars.

Moeng received the safes, but on his way home with them was intercepted by Siyale and Mentoor, who claimed to be investigating the scam.

They accused Moeng of involvement, and Siyale demanded money not to arrest him.

At Moeng’s home, they confiscated the safes, a camera and a book, and Siyale removed R400 from Moeng’s wallet, to “split” with Mentoor.

Moeng reported the incident, and an undercover police operation was set up against Siyale.

In the course of the trap, Siyale accepted R500 from Moeng at a take-away restaurant. He was arrested minutes later.

The magistrate said the purpose of the prison sentences was not to break both men, but to deter them and make would-be offenders with similar ideas “think twice”.

Lack of remorse

She said the court could not to wrap the two men in cotton wool with lenient sentences, as this would encourage people to take the law into their own hands.

She said both men, as police officials, had a duty to enforce the law and to protect the public.

Instead, they had abused their positions of authority, and exploited Moeng.

The magistrate said Siyale had removed some of the so-called dollars from one of the safes, and torn them up, to prove to Moeng that they were useless pieces of paper and not dollars.

This amounted to destroying evidential material, and Mentor had had a duty to stop Siyale doing this

She said prisons were not only for the punishment of violent crime, but also for “white collar” crime.

Prosecutor Denzyl Combrink reminded the court that both accused had protested their innocence, even after they had been found guilty.

They had failed to accept the court’s judgment, and in doing so had displayed arrogance, he said.

Their attitudes indicated a lack of remorse, and showed that they were not above repeating the offences.

Read more on:    hawks  |  cape town  |  crime

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