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Cape Town - An undercover operation to trap a police captain was aborted when the officer became suspicious, the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court heard on Tuesday.

The operation lasted nearly two hours before Captain Riaan Jordaan --accused of accepting a corrupt payment of R1000 - apparently became suspicious.

According to the charge sheet, Jordaan gave police reservist Zolani Jam-jam a letter of recommendation in 2009.

Jam-jam needed this letter for permanent appointment to the police force. He was permanently appointed in February 2010.

Prosecutor Xolile Jonas alleges that in August 2011, Jordaan reminded Jam-jam about the recommendation and wanted R4 000 for "the  favour".

In October 2011, Jordaan was arrested and released on R2 500 bail  after he pleaded not guilty to one charge of extortion and another of corruption.

The investigating officer, Captain Mabalela Nati, told the court  he received information about Jordaan's alleged request and obtained permission to set up a trap.

Nati said he organised two separate under-cover operations, and in each Jam-jam was to offer Jordaan R1 000 as part-payment of the R4 000.

Jam-jam's first meeting with Jordaan took place at a shopping centre in Tulbagh, while Nati and other members of the operation watched from a distance.

Jam-jam told Jordaan he had obtained a loan, and then went to an  ATM where he pretended to draw the money, but activated a hidden recording device instead, Nati told the court.

Jam-jam later reported to Nati that Jordaan had accepted the first R1 000, and had even given him a 50 percent discount.

This meant Jam-jam now only owed Jordan another R1 000 instead of  R3 000.

In the second operation a few days later, Jordaan met Jam-jam at  the same place, but this time Jordaan became suspicious, and the two haggled for about two hours before the operation was aborted. No money was given to Jordaan in the second operation, Nati said.

He said he later told the Western Cape Directorate of Public Prosecutions what had happened. The DPP decided to charge Jordaan with extortion and corruption, based on the first operation.

Jam-jam told the court how Jordaan asked at their second meeting: "Why have I got the feeling that I am being trapped?"

Questioned by defence attorney Johan Botes, Jam-jam denied Jordaan and others had often lent him money, and that the R4 000 in question was the repayment of money owing to Jordaan.

Botes said Jordaan would say in his testimony that he had on one occasion lent Jam-jam R500 to go to an eye specialist.

Jam-jam replied: "If he says that, he is lying."

The trial continues on Thursday. - Sapa