Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Internal affairs cops ‘bribed driver’

Internal affairs cops ‘bribed driver’
October 2010
By Thabiso Thakali



In this file picture a motorist is stopped by JMPD officers during a routine roadblock in Johannesburg. Picture: Chris Collingridge

Joburg metro police have been rocked by claims that members of the internal affairs division bribed a motorist to drop corruption charges.

The incident is alleged to have happened about a month ago at the JMPD Loveday street offices in the Joburg CBD, after the motorist drove there to formally complain that he had been forced to pay a bribe to an officer at roadblock.

According to several JMPD officers close to the matter, the motorist paid a R700 bribe, but then recorded his conversation with the officer concluding the deal.

Arriving at the Loveday Street offices, the motorist produced the tape as evidence to the internal affairs officers.

The officer who allegedly solicited the bribe is known to the Saturday Star. He is stationed at the JMPD’s region B in Randburg and was promoted to sergeant a few months before the alleged bribery.

“The motorist brought the recording with him as proof of the bribe paid to the officer,” said one JMPD source. “The officer who took the money was shocked when he was called in and had to listen to himself soliciting a bribe.

“The sergeant pleaded with the investigating officers to help him. They then approached the motorist and asked what it would take to drop the case. The motorist demanded that he be paid R10 000.”

According to another source, the officer who allegedly took the bribe was then asked to go and draw money from a nearby ATM to settle the matter.

“But he did not have enough money to meet the motorist’s demand. He only drew around R3 500 and the people who are tasked with rooting out corruption helped him raise it to R4 000,” added the source.

Another source at JMPD region B in Randburg told the Saturday Star yesterday that the scandal had taken everyone by surprise.

“People are talking among themselves, asking how this could have happened in the presence of those who are supposed to curb corruption,” he said.

“This matter has become corridor talk now. Everybody knows about it.”

But JMPD spokeswoman Edna Mamonyane said the department had no knowledge of the incident and urged for a formal complaint to be lodged.

“We have never had a situation where our internal affairs officials would say to a metro cop pay back a bribe, because that would send a wrong message that we tolerate corruption,” she said.

“I have checked with my directors and they don’t have a record of such a matter.

“We are asking you to say to your sources that they can feel confident to come to us with the information and we will sort it out.”

But the officers who spoke to the Saturday Star this week said the case was well known in the department. They raised their concerns over anomalies in the JMPD’s internal affairs’ application of the disciplinary code.

This latest revelation follows a series of reports in the Saturday Star about officers who were still patrolling the streets, despite facing serious criminal charges and how one officer, who faces charges of murder for allegedly shooting and killing her boyfriend with her service pistol, remains on duty - in plain clothes.

A JMPD officer who previously faced the wrath of the internal affairs division for misconduct and was demoted as a result, lashed out at the “selective” application of internal discipline.

“There are far more officers who have well known cases of misconduct that never go through the disciplinary process,” he told the Saturday Star. “Those who go through it, depending on who they are, either get demoted with no financial loss, or are simply redeployed.”

The SA Municipal Workers Union also complained bitterly of inconsistencies in the process of imposing sanctions.

A union official who has represented several officers said while some of their members were being subjected to harsh sanctions, others “got off scot-free”.

He said in a case in which a motorist had paid a bribe but later reported it, officials ought to consider the matter as “unlawful entrapment” and charge both parties.

Mamonyane urged motorists not to give money to officers asking for bribes, because they would be considered as guilty as the officers taking them.

But she admitted no one had ever been charged for giving a bribe and reporting it.

“Sometimes people say they do it for fear of being victimised,” she said. “We don’t charge them when they come forward, because we feel they are helping us to root out corruption, in a way.” - Saturday Star

1 comment: