Seven police constables who succumbed to the temptation of bribery will be swapping their blue police uniforms for orange prison garb after being sentenced by the Free State High Court. Sentences were handed down on Wednesday (27/11) after they were found guilty of corruption, racketeering and contravention of the Immigration Act. The convicted are Philemon Moloi (32), Malefetsane Khala (33), Lapapa Thithi (37), Dumisane Matobako (35), Vincent Mokhitli (37), Modise Malefane (37) and Edith Qasha (35).Judge Martha Mbhele threw the book at them, imposing sentences ranging from 88 to 207 years. Moloi was sentenced to 174 years, Khala to 147, Thithi to 201, Matobako to 207, Mokhitli to 265, Malefane to 149 and Qasha to 88 years, respectively. Moloi, Khala, Thithi, Matobako, Mokhitli and Malefane will each serve effective 12 years in prison, while Qasha will serve six years. The sentences will run concurrently as ordered by Judge Mbhele. The order concurred with the request of Adv. Mvuseni Ponye, state prosecutor of the Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit, that the court impose harsh punishment on the seven accused. Ponye called for hefty sentences when arguing in aggravation of sentence, pointing out that the culprits are police officers who were trusted to enforce law and order. He also said they had a responsibility to ensure that everyone coming into or leaving South Africa had valid documents.Phaladi Shuping, spokesperson of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in the Free State, said the findings revealed that the crimes were committed between 31 March 2016 and 29 March 2017, while the convicts were on duty at the Ficksburg Port of Entry into the neighbouring country of Lesotho border. He said the crimes were committed. corruption, racketeering and contravention of the Immigration Act crimes were committedThe crimes were exposed after investigation by the Hawks, the Crime Intelligence Unit and the Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit. “Part of their responsibilities was to ensure that people departing from or coming into South Africa had valid travelling documents,” said Shuping. They acted on tip-offs that the convicts were suspicions when it was suspected that the accused were taking bribes of R100 to R250 to allow people without valid documents to cross the border.“All the money collected would be given to one of the convicts during the shift, after which the money would be divided between the seven. In this way, the corrupt officials made R100 to R2 500 per day,” Shuping said. They made a total of approximately R60 400 with their corrupt activities.