Free State cops, immigration officer arrested in connection with border bribes

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Members of the SANDF patrolling near the Ficksburg Bridge Border Control post.
Members of the SANDF patrolling near the Ficksburg Bridge Border Control post.
Thulani Mbele, Gallo images/Sowetan
  • Two Free State police officers and a home affairs official have been arrested for allegedly demanding a bribe at Ficksburg border post.
  • The men are alleged to have confiscated the man's passport and then solicited a R2 500 bribe from him.
  • In another case, a police officer was arrested for allegedly accepting a bribe from a taxi driver transporting illegal immigrants.

Three Free State police officers and a home affairs immigration office were arrested and charged for allegedly soliciting bribes at two different border posts.

In the incident at Ficksburg border post, police officials Tsoloane Matthews Tsoloane, 36, Tsediso Lawrence Matsaneng, 36, and home affairs immigration officer, Emmanuel Sebofi, 45, appeared at the Ficksburg Magistrate's Court on 27 March, facing charges of corruption and extortion.

It is alleged that Sebofi wrongfully confiscated the complaint's passport at the border gate, claiming it was invalid. 

Free State Hawks spokesperson Warrant Officer Fikiswa Matoti said a police officer who was with Sebofi told the complainant he could assist him and get his passport back, but at a price.

"The police officer allegedly demanded R2 500 from the complainant. The complainant complied. The three accused shared the money among themselves. The matter was brought to the attention of the Hawks in Bloemfontein. A preliminary investigation was conducted," said Matoti.

Tsediso Lawrence Matsaneng
Tsediso Lawrence Matsaneng.
Emmanuel Sebofi
Emmanuel Sebofi.

The three were arrested on 25 March in Ficksburg. Only R600 was recovered in the possession of one of the three accused. 

Tsoloane, Matsaneng and Sebofi were each released on R2 000 bail and were expected back in court on 26 April.

READ | 'Unlawful and invalid': Patricia de Lille says Spurs deal must be stopped 'immediately'

Meanwhile, a sergeant stationed at the Maseru border post was arrested by the Free State police's anti-corruption unit on Monday over allegations of corruption.

Free State police spokesperson Sergeant Mahlomola Kareli said allegations against the officer were that she took an undisclosed amount of money from a taxi driver.

"The taxi driver and four illegal immigrants were arrested on the spot by members of the Border Management Authority and are currently in custody after being denied bail.

"The 44-year-old sergeant appeared in court and is out on R3 000 bail. She will appear again in the Ladybrand Magistrate's Court on 21 April 2023, Kareli said, adding that she faced charges of corruption, and defeating the ends of justice.

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