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Cape Town - A policeman in Diep River, Cape Town, grabbed a Nigerian man's car keys and demanded money for their return, the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court heard on Tuesday.
Three policemen, Constable Nkosinathi Mdiya, Warrant Officer Mogamat Meniers, and Sergeant Heinrich Gordon, all based at the Diep River police station, are in the dock.
Mdiya is charged with two counts of theft, two of robbery and one of extortion (blackmail); Meniers is charged with one count of theft and one of corruption; and Gordon is charged with three counts of theft, two of corruption, two of extortion, and two of robbery.
On an extortion charge, Nigerian Daniel Animalu told the court he was driving in the Diep River area on the night of February 26
last year when he heard a police siren approaching from behind. At first he ignored it, but when the police vehicle started flashing its headlights at him, he stopped.
He said the police vehicle stopped behind him, and Gordon approached him. Gordon reached into his car, snatched the ignition keys, gave him a cellphone number to call, and drove off.
Animalu said when he called the number, Gordon told him he would have to pay R500 for the return of his keys.
Animalu said he reported the incident to the Wynberg police, who said he should call Gordon again, from the charge office, and demand that Gordon bring the keys to the Wynberg police charge office.
He did so, but Gordon had switched off his cellphone. Animalu tried a second time, got through, and demanded that the keys be returned to him at the police station.
Soon afterwards, Gordon called and said he had placed the keys on the bonnet of Animalu’s car. Animalu said the Wynberg police insisted Gordon return the keys to him at the Wynberg police station, which Gordon did.
On one of the theft charges, drug addict and pedlar Anton Pillay alleged that the three broke down the door of his shack in an informal settlement on the night of February 20. He said they confiscated money and drugs, and took him to the Diep River police station.
There, they demanded R200 each for his release, which he paid. When they returned the confiscated money, he noticed some of it was missing. No charges were pressed against him, he said.
Pillay was cross-examined by defence counsel Yvette Isaacs, representing Gordon. He admitted being confused in his main testimony about the payment of money to Gordon, to share between them to secure his release.
Asked if he had lied when he said he had given the money to Gordon, he said he was not sure to whom he had given the money.
Isaacs asked if the court could accept that he had not in fact given any money to Gordon. Pillay replied: “Yes.”
The trial continues on November 7.