Prison diesel theft case collapses

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Independent Newspapers

Durban - Charges were on Tuesday withdrawn against a warder accused of stealing diesel from a prison.

Sibongiseni Mkhize, a warder at the Sevontein Prison, contended that he had bought the diesel and had it in the back of his vehicle when he returned to the prison.

He produced the receipts for the diesel in the Pietermaritzburg Regional Court, and magistrate Michy Singh ordered the charges be withdrawn.

This followed representations made by his attorney, Kameel Jagernath, who submitted that Mkhize’s version of events were supported by witness statements.

According to police reports and sources, Mkhize’s arrest came after he was involved in a confrontation with a senior official in the Correctional Services Department.

It is alleged the senior official made a surprise late-night visit to the prison last week. The official and his bodyguards allegedly drew their firearms and Mkhize fled.

A 20-litre container of diesel was recovered from Mkhize’s vehicle and he was charged with theft.

According to a source at the prison, the theft of diesel is rife at the facility.

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