Top cop axed over gun saga
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Johannesburg - The former head of the firearms registry in Pretoria has been fired for corruption for allegedly accepting bribes to fast-track firearm licences.
Lieutenant-General Solomon Makgale confirmed that Brigadier Mathapelo Miriam Mangwani had been fired after undergoing a disciplinary process.
Makgale said Mangwani was found guilty on two counts of corruption and dismissed.
The criminal investigation was continuing, he added. Mangwani said she did not have any comment on the disciplinary action against her.
Last year, The Star exposed the story after speaking to a State witness who alleged that, on the instructions of her employer, Dave Sheer Guns, she bribed police officers to fast-track the licences.
The police and forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan were involved in an investigation into the alleged corruption.
The woman said in affidavits that she paid Mangwani R5 000 and R10 000 in cash twice a month for four years.
She nicknamed the brigadier “Mama”.
She said she met the brigadier at shopping malls and petrol stations, where she allegedly gave her the cash.
Dave Sheer Guns denied all wrongdoing and said the woman had been fired and was involved in a smear campaign.
Dave Sheer Guns employees Gareth de Nysschen and Demis Karatmitsos were arrested in a separate investigation in which it is alleged they had bought stolen military ammunition. This case is due for trial in the Lenasia Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
After the allegations appeared in The Star, police suspended Mangwani without pay.
Last year, Makgale released a statement saying that after the media exposure into the investigations at the Central Firearms Registry, 20 police officers were suspended.
“SAPS management discovered several irregularities, fraud and corruption within the Firearms Control Registry and immediately instituted disciplinary steps,” Makgale said.
Two brigadiers, two colonels, one captain, two lieutenants, one warrant officer and 12 administrative employees have been suspended.
Makgale said last week that there was still concern about the involvement of police officers in criminal activity.
From April last year until now, 1 012 employees were suspended, with 295 being found guilty of misconduct.
Of these, 187 had been dismissed, while 108 had been sanctioned in other ways.
National police commissioner General Riah Phiyega said: “We recognise that more work needs to be done to enhance the SAPS disciplinary processes so as to ensure effective discipline management.”
The police were working with the SA Revenue Service and Home Affairs to turn around disciplinary management in the police, she said.