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Brits - A man and two teenage girls appeared in the Brits Magistrate's Court this past week after they were arrested in connection with bribery, North West police said on Sunday.

A Brits policing cluster trio crimes - house and business robberies and hijackings - task team investigator arrested the three suspects for bribery on Tuesday, Colonel Adéle Myburgh said.

The accused, a 39-year-old man and two teenage girls aged 16 and 18, appeared briefly in the Brits Magistrate's Court on Thursday. The man and the 18-year-old girl were remanded in custody until October 11, and the 16-year-old was released into the care of her parents.

"The trio's apprehension emanated from an incident in which they tried to bribe an investigating officer for the release of three accused that were held for murder and business robbery."

It was alleged that on Friday, August 24, 2018, Bongani Mhlongo, 30, Happy Fatso Sibanda, 26, and Zacharia Sithole, 23 entered a local tuckshop in Assen and killed the owner Awano Abebe, 30 before fleeing with airtime and cellphones. The three suspects were arrested a few days after the incident and had been in custody since then. Their next court appearance would be on October 29.

On Tuesday, October 2, a relative of one of the robbery and murder accused as well as two friends went to meet the investigating officer. During the meeting, the three produced R10 000 in cash in an attempt to bribe the officer to let the three men free.

"Their mission was unsuccessful as they were immediately arrested by the investigating officer for bribery and the money was seized," Myburgh said.

North West police commissioner Lt-Gen Baile Motswenyane applauded the investigating officer for his honesty and integrity. She also encouraged other officers to follow the ethical conduct displayed by the officer. She warned criminals that police would leave no stone unturned to ensure successful prosecution of trio and contact crimes, Myburgh said.

African News Agency (ANA)