Bail for police officers who ‘stole’ R500 000

2010-10-20 14:38

Five police officers accused of stealing more than R500 000 from a police safe in Polokwane, Limpopo, have been released on bail of between R1 000 and R10 000.

They were among the original seven suspects who appeared before the Polokwane Magistrates Court today.

The commander of the Saps’s tactical response team (TRT) in Polokwane, Lieutenant Colonel Caroline Machuene Mokatse (44); her colleagues Constable Pule Segooa (30), Captain Abram Lefender (37), Constable Avahatsani Siaga (29) and Warrant Officer George Setsiba (51) pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud, theft and corruption.

Similar charges were withdrawn against the other two suspects, Lazarus and Charles Lephalale, who are Mokatse’s brothers, after they turned state witnesses.

They had been accused of receiving part of the money from their sister.

The police elite crime-busting unit, the Hawks, arrested all the suspects on October 9 in connection with the disappearance of R525 000 of the R4.2 million recovered from criminals at Makhado five days before.

The money then disappeared from police custody at the Polokwane police station during the counting process.

The suspect had allegedly confiscated the money in foreign currency from a suspect, who had since been charged with money laundering and the contravention of the income tax and foreign currency act.

The state did not oppose bail for the five officers because they had fixed addresses and were not deemed to pose a threat to public order.

However, it had demanded bail of between R5 000 and R50 000 for each one of them because the charges they were facing did not befit a police officer.

But the accused pleaded poverty, saying they could only afford bail of between R1 500 and R10 000 since they earned between R6 700 and R12 000 a month.

Mokatse was released on R10 000 bail, Segoa on R5 000, Setsiba R3 000, Lefember R1 500 and Siega on R1 000.

They were not allowed to contact the state’s three witnesses, interfere with the case, contact their colleagues from the TRT unit or enter the Polokwane police station or any of their work places.They would appear in court again on January 26.

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