Corrupt cop, reservist sentenced to 5 years for extortion

2016-04-04 21:00

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Cape Town - A police officer and a reservist who found themselves on the wrong side of the law were sentenced on Monday to five years behind bars after they were convicted on extortion charges in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crimes Court.

Constable Elizabeth Messias, 34, and Riaan Hunt, 34, previously stationed at the Worcester police station, were found guilty of taking a R8 000 bribe from the owner of a goods truck they stopped near a weighbridge outside the town in 2011.

After initially pulling over the vehicle in search of counterfeit goods and not finding any contraband, the officer searched the front of the truck where she found a box containing khat, National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said in a statement.

"She then demanded R1 500 from the driver, Alli Abdi, if he wanted her to release the [drugs] and not arrest him for possession," he explained.

"The driver only had R400 and Constable Messias told him to ask for more money from the owner."

Messias also told the man to tell the owner that there were counterfeit goods in the truck.

When the truck owner arrived, the officer told him to pay a release fee of R15 000 for the supposed fake merchandise.

"The owner [said it] was too much and they negotiated and settled on R8 000.

"The owner of the truck then contacted the owner of the goods they were transporting… and informed [him] that Constable Messias wanted R8 000 if he wanted to receive his goods."

The man agreed to bring the money from Durbanville.

Messias then directed the owner and driver to a garage, where she was later called to a scene in Rawsonville.

"Messias left Hunt with the truck. The goods owner arrived with the money and she was informed of this and drove back from Rawsonville.

"The truck driver also paid R700 and received his drugs back. The accused then escorted the truck until they were satisfied that it was safe. They then shared the money."

However, when the same truck was stopped three months later, with the officers making the same demand, the owner refused to pay.

The man reported the duo, who were arrested in January 2012.

Advocate Xolile Jonas on Monday argued for a custodial sentence.

Messias and Hunt have applied for leave to appeal. The application will be heard on May 12.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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