Worcester ‘khat’ cops found guilty
Cape Town - Worcester police officials who confiscated a carton of the drug khat from a truck driver, and then demanded money to release the carton back to him, have been found guilty of corruption on Monday.
Elizabeth Messias and Riaan Hunt, both 34, appeared in the Specialised Commercial Crime Court in Bellville, before magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg.
In July 2013 they both pleaded not guilty to charges of extortion, with corruption charged as the alternative, and on Monday were found guilty of corruption.
Sentencing proceedings commence on February 23.
According to the charge sheet, they intercepted a truck outside Worcester in August 2011, in search of counterfeit goods.
They found no counterfeit goods, but Messias then found a carton of khat on the driver’s seat.
She demanded R1 500 from the driver for the return of the carton to him, and to avoid arrest for possession of drugs.
The driver could only give her R400, and she insisted that he obtain more from his employer, but to inform his employer falsely that counterfeit goods had been found on the truck.
The employer offered R8 000, and telephoned the consignee, to whom the goods were to be delivered in Durbanville, for the money.
The consignee travelled to Worcester to pay the R8 000.
The driver of the truck meanwhile had borrowed R300 from his employer, and gave Messias R700 for the return of the confiscated drugs.
The driver thus paid R700 for the return of the drugs, and the Durbanville consignee R8 000 for the release of the truck.
According to the charge sheet, Messias and Hunt were reported when they stopped the same truck three months later, and demanded money again.
This time the owner refused to pay, and Messias and Hunter were arrested.
They are to be sentenced on two counts of corruption.
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