SA: 6 police officers accused of being part of a Beitbridge illicit cigarette ring appear before court

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By Agencies

JOHANNESBURG: Six police officers accused of being part of a cigarette smuggling syndicate between Zimbabwe and South Africa have appeared before the Musina Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

Their case has been postponed for further investigation until December 2, 2022.

The six accused police officers, Fhulufhuwani Calderon Kwinda (55), Nndivhaleni Negota (45), Naledzani Jonathan Mabalana (55), Takalani Eric Nefolovhodwe (45), Midiaifani Tshikovhele (35) and Elisa Nenzhelele (38), appeared in Musina Magistrate’s Court on charges of corruption.

According to NPA spokesperson Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi, the suspects were arrested on November 25, 2022, following a successful sting operation carried out by the SAPS.

These police officers were deployed along the border post between South Africa and Zimbabwe in Musina, Limpopo. They were subsequently arrested for corruption related to the smuggling of illicit cigarettes into the country.

“It is alleged that the South African Police Services officials attached to the Tshamutumbu police station were deployed along the border line, and they allegedly created a safe passage for smugglers to enter the country illegally, in possession of illicit cigarettes, in exchange for gratification and bribes,” Malabi-Dzhangi said.

The matter is postponed to 02 December 2022 for bail application. The accused persons will remain in custody.

At the time of their arrest, the deputy provincial commissioner responsible for crime detection in Limpopo, Major General Samuel Manala, said the police officers, aged between 31 and 55, who are attached to Tshamutumbu police station, were arrested after it was found that they were involved in acts of corruption and assisted a cigarette syndicate to cross the border undetected.

“The activities of assisting a syndicate involved in the illicit smuggling of cigarettes, the members allegedly created a safer passage for the smugglers to enter the country illegally.”

“Six police members were arrested as a result of the culmination of an intensive investigation after we received several complaints from the public about police officials deployed along the border line being involved in various acts of corruption,” Manala said.