Suspended KZN cop accused of extortion claims he is being set up
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Alleged fraudster Thami Ndlala, ex husband of Metro FM DJ Lerato Kganyago, will be appearing at the Pretoria Commercial Court in mid-July to testify against a suspended KZN Hawks officer accused of extorting R100000 from the businessman.
Ndlala assumed a short-lived celebrity status when he married Kganyago in March, but their union was over within two months. A barrage of theft allegations by different people against the businessman were also widely shared on social media.
Muzi Malinga, a warrant officer within the Organised Crime Unit in Pretoria, has been on suspension for almost two years and had to move back home to KZN. He said arresting Ndlala in 2013 had brought a string of misfortunes.
In December, the Sunday Tribune reported that Malinga had been assigned to a fraud case by his then senior officer, Colonel Lesitja Senona, where Ndlala and his accomplice, Thabo Molapo had allegedly purchased a Range Rover and a BMW 3 Series at a dealership in Benoni using fraudulent documents.
In an effort to recover the vehicles, police obtained search warrants for Ndlala’s then Pretoria East mansion and Molapo’s Rosslyn home. The BMW was found in Molapo’s yard, and the Range Rover was found hidden near the Menlyn Shopping Centre in Pretoria. Both suspects were arrested in November 2013.
Malinga said he was informed by his superiors in February 2014 that charges of corruption had been laid by Ndlala against him and that he needed to hand himself over. The charge sheet accused him and three other officers who had been part of the search and seizure operation of attempting to extort R100000 from Ndlala.
“He said I demanded the money after searching his house,” said Malinga.
In a police statement seen by the Sunday Tribune, Ndlala alleged that he had already made payments of various amounts to the three officers who were with Malinga at his premises. He said the officers had promised to make the case disappear. Ndlala claimed that he had been in constant communication with Malinga and that they had agreed on dates to deliver outstanding amounts.
However, Malinga still maintains that the allegations which have cost him his job and peace of mind were fabricated with assistance from police. He said he did not play any accessory role in the extortion and that his seniors were protecting Ndlala.
“I was arrested and placed on suspension in August 2015, and months went by without a disciplinary hearing, and I had to approach the Safety and Security Sectoral Bargaining Council to intervene,” he said.
His suspension was then lifted in October 2016 in a letter signed by General Loyiso Matakata, but when he returned to work, he was instructed to return home until further notice.
Malinga appeared before a magistrate 27 times before the trial date was set for February 13, 2020. Ndlala was a no-show, but Molapo testified against Malinga. The matter will resume on July 13, when Malinga hopes to cross-examine Ndlala.
“I am ready to go back to work after clearing my name,” he said.
Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi was not available for comment, while Ndlala’s listed number seemed to have been disconnected.