Former Hawks captain guilty of extortion

2015-04-23 19:59
(File: Hawks)

(File: Hawks)

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Cape Town - A Hawks police officer who took a R500 bribe was found guilty of extortion when he appeared in a Cape Town court on Thursday.

Former captain Siyaza Patrick Siyale, 56, was also found guilty of the theft of a camera and a book, as well as defeating the ends of justice, by Magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg in the Specialised Commercial Crime Court in Bellville.

He protested his innocence to the very end, saying he was “only trying to help a victim in the black dollar scam”. With him in the dock was former colleague Wilfred Mentoor, 31, who was also found guilty of theft and defeating the ends of justice, but not of extortion.

At the request of prosecutor Denzyl Combrink, the court ordered that they remain in custody overnight, to be sentenced on Friday, despite legal aid defence attorney Hayley Lawrence’s application that they be released on bail.

Sonnenberg said the presumption of innocence until proven guilty no longer applied as they stood convicted of serious offences. Both men had also faced a charge of corruption, but were found not guilty.

The case arose from the innocent 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”.

In return, Moeng was to receive four lock-up safes, supposedly filled with US dollars. The safes contained pieces of black 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 in the scam, and Siyale demanded money not to arrest him.

At Moeng’s home, they confiscated the safes, a camera and a book, and removed R400 from Moeng’s wallet. Moeng reported the incident, and an undercover police operation was set up to trap Siyale.

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

'I was trying to help the victim'

At Thursday’s proceedings, Siyale’s lawyer asked him how he felt about his convictions.

“I’m not feeling well – all I was doing was to try to help the victim,” he replied.

He asked for mercy, in the form of a suspended prison sentence.

“I did not extort Moeng, nor did I steal from him,” he maintained.

Combrink asked him: “What did you think would happen, when you demanded money from the victim?”

“Moeng is a liar,” he replied.

Combrink reminded him that he had lost his job for R500.

“That’s what surprised me. I went to the take-away to buy food, and was then arrested for something I know nothing about,” he said.

The men are to be sentenced on Friday.

Read more on:    hawks  |  cape town  |  crime

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