Top Durban cops bust for cigarette corruption
The officers were arrested at Chatsworth police station and are expected to appear in the Chatsworth Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
Detectives from the provincial Anti-Corruption Unit and Pinetown Cluster Detective Task Team arrested them for two separate incidents.
Spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker said a man told the police that on May 8, he and his friends had gone to Unit 5 in Chatsworth to buy cigarettes. As they left the premises, officers in an unmarked police vehicle stopped them.
Three officers questioned them and searched their vehicle. The police then stole five cases of cigarettes as well as R4000 in cash from them.
“When the complainant proceeded to the police station to enquire about his case, he realised the police officers had not handed in the seized items. Three were arrested,” Naicker said.
In the second incident, a man said seven police officers approached him on June 8 while he was at his shop in Unit 3, Chatsworth.
The police accused him of selling cigarettes. Following a search, the officers charged him for selling cigarettes and for bribing them with R20000.
“When the man returned to his shop, he realised the suspects had removed two boxes containing R250000 in cash, as well as cigarettes. He reported the theft to police at Chatsworth. Seven police officers were arrested.”
Naicker said more arrests were expected as investigations into their involvement in similar crimes were ongoing.
Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant-General Khombinkosi Jula saluted those who report corrupt activities.
“We do not need such individuals in our communities. This latest breakthrough is another endeavour in our promise to rid this province of corrupt police officers. Our citizens have confidence in our ability to take serious action against police members who break the law.”
Chatsworth Community Policing Forum spokesperson Jakes Singh said some of those arrested were from other stations who had worked in the cluster units. The arrests, he said, had left the CPF angry as they regarded the police as partners in the fight against crime.
“We have been fighting against corruption in the police force. They must face the full might of the law. Lawmen are becoming lawless. We have had enough. They must be discharged from the police. I would fire them,” he said.
Since the lockdown was announced, 44 police officers have been arrested for corruption in KwaZulu-Natal.
Police Minister Bheki Cele recently said 300 officers had been arrested for corruption involving cigarettes and alcohol.
Last month, two Chatsworth constables were charged for corruption. Naicker said the men had entered a tuckshop in Moorton and seized cigarettes valued at R14500 and R2000 in cash.
The items were not handed in at Chatsworth SAPS. In the same week, a Westville detective was arrested in Mpumalanga after four men allegedly approached a tuckshop owner at Ntshongweni.
They accused him of selling cigarettes and demanded cash. He handed over R500. Charges of extortion and attempted murder were opened against the policeman.
Last month, three Sydenham police officers allegedly seized R24 000 worth of alcohol from a Clare Estate resident who they accused of selling it illegally. They demanded and received R20 000 for her release. Naicker said they failed to hand the cigarettes and cash in. The two sergeants and a constable were arrested and granted R1000 bail.