KZN cop killer, fraudsters, kidnappers make it onto the Hawks’ list of successes

The National Head for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya. File Picture: Fikile Marakalla/GCIS

The National Head for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya. File Picture: Fikile Marakalla/GCIS

Published Jun 18, 2023


Durban — The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI-Hawks) recorded four successes in KwaZulu-Natal in the fourth quarter of the 2022/2023 financial year.

This was according to Hawks head Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya during a public update on Thursday, June 15, 2023.

This was the fourth public update of the successes achieved by the Hawks.

Lebeya spoke about two convictions and two arrests that the Hawks made in KZN.

Lebeya said that in case 1, a man was convicted to 45 years and a life term for killing a police officer.

He said that on November 14, 2019, KwaMbonambi detectives were tracking Phumowakhe Ndwandwe, 24, who was sought for house robbery and rape charges at Cinci Reserve. His house was identified and surrounded by the police.

“When he realised that he was surrounded, he fired shots through the window and escaped. Detective Sergeant Sakhile Nsibande, peace upon him, was shot and rushed to the hospital where he succumbed to the injury,” Lebeya said.

He said that a case of murder was reported and allocated to the Hawks from Richards Bay Serious Organised Crime Investigation.

“On November 15, 2019, a joint operation was conducted by Empangeni Public Order Police, Crime Intelligence, KwaMbonambi detectives and Richards Bay Serious Organised Crime Investigation. Ndwandwe was arrested in the KwaMsane area and an unlicensed firearm was seized. His bail application was successfully opposed. He remained in custody until his conviction in December 2022,” Lebeya said.

“On Monday, January 16, 2023, KwaZulu-Natal High Court sitting at Mtubatuba sentenced Ndwandwe to life imprisonment for the murder, 15 years imprisonment for house robbery, 15 years imprisonment for rape and 15 years imprisonment for possession of an unlicensed firearm as well as ammunition. His sentences will run concurrently.”

In the second conviction and case 9, Lebeya said that a fraudster was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.

Lebeya said that between 2009 and 2019, Zakariya Vahed, 49, was employed as an accountant.

“He fraudulently transferred cash from the company’s bank account to his personal account. As a result, the company suffered a financial loss of more than R7 million,” Lebeya said.

He said that a fraud case was reported at Sydenham police station and the docket was allocated to Hawks members from Durban Serious Commercial Crime Investigation.

“Vahed was arrested in October 2020 and released on R10 000 bail. He appeared several times in court until he pleaded guilty in August 2022,” Lebeya said.

“On March 27, 2023, Durban Regional Court sentenced Vahed to 15 years direct imprisonment for 93 counts of fraud.”

Under arrests and case 30, Lebeya said that three suspects were arrested for kidnapping.

He said that in January 2023, a 25-year-old victim from Botswana came to buy a motor vehicle that was advertised online.

“He was picked up by an e-hailing vehicle from Durban Station to an unknown location where he was held against his will. The suspects drove around withdrawing cash from the victim’s bank account. They then phoned his family in Botswana and demanded more cash,” Lebeya said.

He said that the Hawks members from Durban Serious Organised Crime Investigation received information about the incident and swiftly conducted an operation.

“On Thursday, January 26, 2023, suspects were intercepted by the Hawks in police action and three suspects, Abuyile Mhlahlo, 28, Mxolisi Mgenge, 32, and Nhlakanipho Ngobese, 22, were arrested for kidnapping. The victim was rescued unharmed. The accused appeared in court and two of them were granted bail and one is still in custody. The case is postponed to June 29, 2023, in the Durban Magistrate’s Court,” Lebeya said.

In the second arrest and case 32, Lebeya said that a suspect was charged for fraudulent qualifications.

Lebeya said that on February 13, 2023, the Hawks members from Pietermaritzburg Serious Commercial Crime Investigation arrested Mlekeleli Masondo, 40, for two counts of fraud which happened at the Office of the Premier in KZN.

Lebeya said it is alleged that the suspect applied for a Project Manager’s post in 2010 and submitted fraudulent qualifications. He was employed and in 2019, he further applied for a Deputy Director’s post and he was appointed to that post.

“The Department of Public Service and Administration conducted qualification verification and the suspect failed to submit the original documents as requested. It was discovered that his qualifications were fraudulent and disciplinary steps were instituted against him,” Lebeya said.

“The Office of the Premier was defrauded R3 720 422 and a case of fraud was reported at Pietermaritzburg police station. The case docket was allocated to Hawks members for further investigation hence he was charged on February 13, 2023.”

Lebeya said that Masondo appeared in the Pietermaritzburg Regional Court on March 16, 2023.

The case is postponed to June 29, 2023, for further particulars.

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