‘Clean for six years’

2017-10-05 10:06
Moses Mncwabe soon after his arrest.

Moses Mncwabe soon after his arrest. (Ian Carbutt)

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Alleged cocaine dealer Moses Mncwabe told a magistrate on Wednesday he had “given up” narcotics six years ago after being convicted for dealing in drugs.

“I have been clean for six years,” he told magistrate Bessie du Preez on Wednesday when he gave evidence asking for bail.

He said he is the main trustee of a family trust, which buys and renovates properties and rents them to students, and he also runs a catering business. He earns a total of R41 000 per month.

According to Mncwabe no one else can run his businesses for him and his dependents will suffer if he is not released on bail.

While Mncwabe offered to pay bail of R1 500, the prosecutor, Alex Moolman suggested that if he is given bail (despite the state opposing his release on bail) the court should consider imposing a sum of around R50 000.

Du Preez will make a ruling on Thursday.

Mncwabe (40) is currently charged with dealing in R174 000 worth of cocaine, which was allegedly recovered by police from his car in Ohrtmann Road on September 22.

He is also charged with two counts of corruption for allegedly offering to pay the officers who arrested him — Sergeant Leroy Boucher and Warrant Officer Jay Marian — R1 million each to let him go.

In an affidavit opposing Mncwabe’s release the Hawks investigating officer, Captain Jageesh Devnarain “JD” Singh said Mncwabe was a “known drug dealer” in Pietermaritzburg who had a string of drug convictions to his name from 2002 onwards. Six years ago (on December 14, 2011) he was convicted of dealing in cocaine and given a five­- year suspended sentence and fined R20 000.

His record of previous convictions reveals that in January 1994 he was found guilty of theft, and in 1997 of robbery. From February 2003 onward he was found guilty on seven occasions of possessing drugs, and in August 2009 of possession of an unlicensed firearm.

Singh said Mncwabe is alleged to “deal from 18 Oxford Street” and makes use of drug runners to sell the drugs that users buy daily.

The property was “well secured” with a high fence around it, belongs to Mncwabe and was registered as a business, Basher Trading Enterprises.

According to Singh, the vehicle (in which the cocaine was allegedly recovered in the present case) is also registered in the company name.

He added that it was alleged that Mncwabe pays policemen who “often disrupt dealings during crime prevention operations”.

But Mncwabe’s advocate Martin Krog told the court he was “dumbfounded” by the allegation that the Oxford Street property is a drug den. This is because when Mncwabe was arrested he immediately volunteered this as his home address.

“If this is a drug den where all this hanky panky supposedly takes place then I find it amazing he would have led police to it,” said Krog. He added that Mncwabe could just as easily have given the police his other (legitimate) address at Beacon Hill if he had wanted to hide his links to Oxford Street.

Krog also urged the court to reject the prosecution’s “fear” that if released Mncwabe will interfere with witnesses or hinder the police investigation.

Krog said the only two witnesses are the two policemen who Mncwabe had already allegedly tried to bribe and who turned him down.

“How is he going to influence them if they have already refused R1 million? Is he going to offer them more and more money?” asked Krog.

The public gallery at court was filled with Mncwabe’s supporters yesterday including several wearing T-shirts proclaiming the wearers’ allegiance to him.

Some bore logos such as “the good life Team Moses Mncwabe” or “class act Team Moses Mncwabe”.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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