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Detectives from the Hawks, swooped on the home of a National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) investigator on Thursday after a probe implicated him in an alleged extortion racket.
The investigator is alleged to have extorted R500 000 from an Overport businessman last year, by pretending to be a policeman who was investigating him for fraud.
The Hawks raided his Glenhills home near Durban North and arrested him, along with his alleged accomplice, a 43-year-old Berea man.
Detectives also searched the investigator’s offices in the Durban city centre yesterday for evidence.
According to police sources, the investigator, who worked in the NPA’s risk department, which investigates internal corruption, is a former policeman who joined the NPA a few years ago.
Police allege that, last April, he and his alleged accomplice received information that the Overport businessman had received a grant from the Department of Trade and Industry.
It is unclear whether there were any suspicious circumstances surrounding the grant, but detectives allege that the NPA investigator arranged for officers from the Durban central police station to pick up the businessman from his home.
When the businessman arrived at the police station, the investigator allegedly interrogated him in the holding cells, telling him that he was going to spend a long time in jail.
The businessman was allegedly told to hand over R500 000 in cash to make the case against him disappear.
He allegedly agreed to hand over the cash and was released from the cells.
The businessman was taken to his home where he retrieved his chequebook and was taken to withdraw the money.
However, when he got to the bank, he was told that he was allowed to withdraw only R150 000 but could transfer the rest – R350 000 – electronically.
After doing this, the businessman was released.
A day later, the businessman went to his lawyer and reported the incident.
In March, after several months of delays at provincial level, the allegations were sent to the SAPS headquarters in Pretoria.
The Hawks detectives were then assigned to probe the extortion claims.
According to a source familiar with the investigation, there have been various other similar extortion claims that were being investigated that could be linked to the NPA investigation.
The investigator and his alleged accomplice were expected to appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Friday. - Daily News