The Hawks’ serious corruption unit has arrested a senior police officer in Dundee in KwaZulu-Natal on charges of corruption and defeating the ends of justice.
The matter related to a City Press article in June that detailed allegations of improper interference by the police in a civil matter between international coal miner Transasia Minerals and local businessman Claude Newberry as well as the failed attempts to get intervention from KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu, then transport and community safety MEC.
The Hawks spokesperson, Captain Ndivhuwo Mulamu, said that Lieutenant-Colonel Wilfred Mtshali had allegedly demanded R10 000 bribe money from Transasia chief executive Luda Roytblat in order for him to assist her in investigating several cases that she had opened at the Dundee Police Station earlier this year.
Roytblat had claimed that proper investigations into the cases were being frustrated by senior police officers in Dundee.
Mulamu said the cases included allegations of housebreaking and theft, corruption, pointing of a firearm, and impersonation of a miner inspector.
“An entrapment operation was conducted and Lieutenant-Colonel Mtshali received the money from the complainant and later returned it. Despite that, the senior public prosecutor issued a warrant of arrest and he was arrested while on duty and charged with corruption and defeating the ends of justice,” said Mulamu.
He said that Mtshali was out on bail after making a brief appearance before the Dundee Magistrates’ Court last Tuesday and granted bail of R2000. The case was postponed to January for more investigation, said Mulamu.
City Press reported in June that Roytblat had sought political protection against police from Mchunu after various efforts to seek relief failed. Despite the intervention, the cases still remained unsolved.
Among the charges against the police had been that they participated, without a court order, in the forceful removal of excavators, front loaders and dump trucks from a site where Transasia Minerals had stored them until a contractual dispute was resolved.
Transasia had two mining interests in KwaZulu-Natal – in Dundee and in Dannhauser – but Roytblat said she “had to suspend all investments pending constructive and decisive senior government intervention, which would guarantee our safety and the protection of our investment”.
Mchunu’s spokesperson Ndabezinhle Sibiya said that they were looking into the details of the case and added that the executive normally met with business people and members of the community to intervene where there was a conflict.