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Six cops accused of being part of illicit cigarette ring appear in court

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

File picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency (ANA)

SIX POLICE officers accused of being part of a cigarette smuggling syndicate operating between Zimbabwe and South Africa have appeared before the Musina Magistrate’s Court.

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 the Musina Magistrate’s Court on charges of corruption on Monday.

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

The six police officers were deployed along the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe in Musina, Limpopo.

“It is alleged that the South African Police Service 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.

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

“The members allegedly created a safer passage for the smugglers to enter the country illegally,” said Manala.

“The 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.”

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