SA: 4 Zimbabweans arrested as cops refuse bribe; charged with ferrying illicit cigarettes and bribery

SA: 4 Zimbabweans arrested as cops refuse bribe; charged with ferrying illicit cigarettes and bribery

By SA media

SOUTH AFRICA: Four people, aged between 25 and 45, were arrested in the Modjadjiskloof policing area in Limpopo for bribery and possession of illicit cigarettes worth over R300,000.

The four – Kudzai Mungate, 40, Eshley Matsorera, 45, Oscar Mbazo, 25, and Tatenda Samasuku, 30 – appeared before the Modjadjiskloof Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, after they were arrested on Wednesday.

The case against the four has been postponed to January 23, while the suspects remain custody.

“Their arrest came after police were tipped-off about a white Ford Ranger travelling from Kgapane to Tzaneen. An operation was quickly activated along R36 Politsi Road,” said Limpopo provincial police spokesperson, Colonel Malesela Ledwaba.

Police in Limpopo traced a Ford Ranger loaded with illicit cigarettes, and they were allegedly offered R5,000 bribe to let the vehicle pass. File Picture: Damaris Helwig

The vehicle was later spotted and approached by the police.

“Upon searching it, police found 2,087 cartons of illicit cigarettes worth R313,050. The suspects were then arrested,” said Ledwaba.

While police officers were still at the scene, a Toyota Hilux occupied by a driver and passenger arrived.

“They then offered the police R5,000 bribe to release the two suspects found in possession of illicit cigarettes. They were also arrested for bribery,” said Ledwaba.

Meanwhile, acting provincial commissioner of police in Limpopo, Major General Jan Scheepers has welcomed the arrests and the confiscation of the illicit cigarettes.

In October, two Zimbabwean nationals were sentenced in the Polokwane Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Limpopo for possession of R9.6 million worth of illicit cigarettes and corruption.

Marshall Masiya, 32, and Oswald Raisi, 27, pleaded guilty to the charges brought against them.

The court heard that on May 20, at the Beitbridge border, officials from the South African Revenue Services (Sars) conducted an inspection and noticed that the number of goods declared on the document and the load on the truck did not correspond.

The truck was redirected to the inspection ramp and the load was subsequently unpacked.

Officials found 440 master boxes of Remington Gold cigarettes valued at R9.6 million hidden under the cotton oil cake.