Man in court for impersonating detective and soliciting bribes

2014-03-05 00:00

A SWEETWATERS man who allegedly conned the families of suspects appearing in court that he was a police officer who could secure their release for a fee, has appeared in court himself after his alleged scam was uncovered.

Sipho Shelembe (45) is alleged to have impersonated a Howick policeman, Constable Sthembiso Zondi.

He made a brief court appearance last week, charged with impersonating a police officer and soliciting bribes of R2 000.

It is alleged that on February 26 he told Nicholas Mbatha, a relative of accused Nqubeko Bhengu, that he was a detective and would facilitate Bhengu’s release for R2 000. Mbatha allegedly paid him the money.

In another incident on February 6, Shelembe told Sthembise Kunene, who was at the Howick police station to see his nephew who had been arrested for assault, that he was Constable Zondi and was investigating the case of his nephew.

“He told us that he would arrange his release if we paid him R2 000,” said Kunene.

“I only had R1 500 in my pocket, and my sister said she would go and withdraw more money from the ATM so we could pay. We went to the police station and [Shelembe] asked us to sit on a bench next to the detectives’ offices to wait for him.”

They waited for more than three hours and only learned that they had allegedly been conned when told that Shelembe did not work at the police station. Kunene said that they trusted Shelembe out of desperation.

Shelembe was remanded in custody and will be back in court today.

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