Johannesburg - Five police officers, who were arrested earlier this month after counterfeit raids in the city, appeared before the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on Monday, where they were released on warning.
The accused were arrested soon after the counterfeit raids on Wednesday 7 August and have been behind bars ever since.
On Monday, Magistrate Basimane Molwana appeared unimpressed with the law enforcers, saying the police were "making a mockery" of the justice system.
The accused - Marubini Aubrey Raphebele, Thulane Philemon Bopela, Petrose Mosiuoa, Samuel Motaung and Timothy Piet Mohlala say in their affidavits that their superior Colonel Leonadrain Pillay granted them permission to off-load the confiscated counterfeit goods.
The accused said they were later arrested and questioned by the Crime Intelligence unit for allegedly taking a R500 bribe.
However, in his testimony on Monday Pillay said he did not remember the contents of a phone call from the iIntelligence unit in which they sought to verify if the accused were indeed telling the truth.
“I did not give the accused instruction to dispose of the goods. I did get a call from (Sergeant Mudzanani Thivhavhudzi Maxwell) but I don’t remember what it relates to,” said Pillay.
Magistrate Molwana then called Mudzanini to the stand to give his side of how he recalled events that led to their arrest.
“I called Colonel Pillay when the accused were getting interrogated. I was with Sergeant Mohlala from Intelligence and stated that indeed Pillay had issued an instruction to have the goods released,” said Mudzanini.
“I also told him that I refused to do so because it would come back to me ... but Pillay claimed he did not issue this instruction.”
After listening to Mudzanni's evidence, Magistrate Molwana said Pillay's testimony was not usefull.
“He was an evasive witness who was of no assistance to the court. As evidence was clear that indeed a telephone call was made. Mudzunani was a star witness and confirmed what was alleged by the five witnesses,” said Molwana.
The magistrate said the accused were involved in a "sensitive case" that was being handled by "a weak police".
He decided to release all five accused on warning with no bail fee, conditions or endorsements.
The matter was postponed to September 27.
African News Agency/ANA