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Top cop arrested for trafficking

Police have arrested one of their own for corruption and defeating the ends of justice. Leon Lestrade. African News Agency/ANA.

Police have arrested one of their own for corruption and defeating the ends of justice. Leon Lestrade. African News Agency/ANA.

Published Apr 30, 2022

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Cape Town - Police have arrested one of their own for corruption and defeating the ends of justice.

The acting station commander at the Table Bay Harbour police station, Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Zaba, was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Unit after he allegedly escorted an undercover agent who transported drugs on two occasions as a trafficker and ammunition in exchange for a payment of R22 000.

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Zaba, 54, has been charged with corruption and defeating the ends of justice under the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) said they had received reports to investigate 66 cases involving corruption during the period of 2020 and 2021 and that an analysis of the cases revealed that the highest number of cases were for extortion or soliciting bribes followed by sale, theft and/or disposal of exhibits and aiding escape from custody.

Zaba was formerly the shift commander and head of Visible Policing at Cape Town Central police station before he was transferred temporarily to Table Bay Harbour police station last month in the capacity of acting station commander.

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An alleged dark cloud followed Zaba to his new position while he was silently being investigated by the Anti-Corruption Unit and Crime Intelligence.

The investigation began while he was at Cape Town Central police station and that the alleged offences took place during October and November 2021.

It's alleged Zaba escorted an undercover agent who was transporting drugs and received a payment of R10 000 on October 15, 2021, and that on November 20, he again escorted the undercover agent who was transporting drugs and received a payment of R10 000. Later that month Zaba allegedly sold 25 rounds of ammunition for a Luger 9mm to the undercover agent for R2 000.

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Provincial police have since indicated they are against any form of corruption and confirmed Zaba’s arrest and charges.

Police spokesperson Colonel Andrè Traut said: “This office can confirm the arrest of 54-year-old Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Zaba by members of the Anti-Corruption Unit Friday morning, April 22 at the Table Bay Harbour police station for corruption, defeating the ends of justice of the Drug Traffic Act.

“The alleged offences were committed during October and November last year when the officer was stationed at Cape Town Central police station.”

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He appeared in court last Friday.

“Corruption in SAPS will be eradicated with all our might and we will not harbour criminals amongst our ranks.”

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said Zaba will appear again in court on July 12 and is out on R15 000 bail.

“He faces three counts of corruption, three counts of defeating the ends of justice and providing ammunition to a person not allowed to possess it (Contravention of Section 120(10)(a) of Firearms Control Act 60/2000.”

Director of communications and marketing for Ipid, Lizzy Suping, said the latest figures showcasing police under investigation by them were not available and that they would be announced in due course.

“Please note that Ipid will announce the date for the release of the 2021/22 statistics in due course. However the 2020/21 stats are available in our 2020/21 annual report on page 38, which gives out a detailed breakdown of the annual intake of cases.”

According to the report supplied by Ipid, the outcome revealed that a total of 6 122 cases were reported to it during the 2020/2021 period.

“The majority of the cases reported were within Section 28(1) (a) to (h). Of these, 4 228 were assault cases, 830 were cases of complaints of discharge of an official firearm(s), 353 were cases of deaths as a result of police action followed by 256 cases of torture.

“The province that had the highest number of cases was the Western Cape with 1 224 cases, followed by Gauteng with 1 082 cases and KwaZulu-Natal with 763 cases.

“The total number of corruption cases reported against members of SAPS and MPS (Municipal Police Services) per province. A total of 66 cases were reported which comprises 60 cases against SAPS and six cases against MPS. The analysis of cases reported indicates that the highest number of cases was extortion or soliciting bribe, at 85%, followed by sale, theft and/or disposal of exhibits with 11% and aiding escape from custody with 3%.”

Richard Mamabolo of the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) said they would be watching cases of corruption involving police closely, to see the outcome.

“As unfortunate as it is that these statistics are staggering, we do as well note that the myth that nothing is being done about acts of corruption within the SAPS is becoming debunked.

“We are, as a union, against any form of corrupt activities, and always encourage our members to display the highest forms of discipline, which will go a long way into building the much-needed confidence among communities on law enforcement agencies in our country. We will be making further reflections on these outcomes, and consider further interventions in dealing with the causal factors of this state of affairs.”

Minister of Community Safety and Police Oversight, Reagen Allen, said, “At each and every Imbizo that I have attended, we often hear community members echo that the SAPS is corrupt and such sentiments resonates in communities, leading to communities not wanting to open cases at the SAPS as the trust is eroded. Parliamentary replies reveal that since 2009, only 1303 cases of corruption were investigated and only 304 were dismissed. If any SAPS official is found to be corrupt, a strong message must be sent and it must be understood that it is not tolerated, they will be caught, dismissed and that serious action will be taken. In so doing, communities can again trust and have confidence in the SAPS because the good men and women in blue are further hampered as a result of bad cops”.

The arrest is similar to that of the conviction and sentencing of former provincial police commissioner Arno Lamoer.

Lamoer was granted parole two years ago after being imprisoned at Malmesbury Prison. Lamoer was sentenced to six years in jail after being found guilty of corruption in 2018.

Two former senior police officers, Darius van der Ross and Colin Govender, were sentenced to four years behind bars each.

Lamoer admitted he wrote letters of good standing for Salim Dawjee, the owner of a tow truck company, in his capacity as provincial commissioner between 2011 to 2013 and that Dawjee gave him money to pay for personal expenses. Dawjee was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment.

Weekend Argus

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