4 Brits cops granted bail after failing to register confiscated cigarettes

The group, all attached to the Brits Tactical Response Team, also face a charge of theft after the owner of the shop reported his cellphone and money missing after the officers searched his bedroom.

FILE: Sethibogile Gideon Lontshitse, David Kabelo Kotu, Victor Mogomotsi Hlabane, and Mduduzi Aaron Mvelase were each granted R1,000 bail and will reappear in court on 29 July 2020. Picture: EWN.

BRITS, North West – Four police officers appeared in the Brits Magistrate Court on Friday on a charge of corruption after they failed to book cigarettes that had seized during a search operation in Oukasie, near Brits, as evidence.

Under the current COVID-19 lockdown regulations, the sale of cigarettes is prohibited, and such products may be confiscated as evidence by officers of the law. On Tuesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that this will form part of the relaxed regulation on 1 May and only from then, the sale of cigarette would be permitted.

Police spokesperson Sabata Mokgwabona said: “The accused were ultimately arrested by the Provincial Anti-Corruption Investigation Unit. It was discovered during the investigation that the cigarettes that the accused seized during the search were not registered as exhibits at the police station.”

Sethibogile Gideon Lontshitse, David Kabelo Kotu, Victor Mogomotsi Hlabane, and Mduduzi Aaron Mvelase were each granted R1,000 bail and will reappear in court on 29 July 2020.

The group, all attached to the Brits Tactical Response Team, also face a charge of theft after the owner of the shop that had been searched laid a criminal complaint when he discovered that his cellphone and some money went missing after the officers searched his bedroom.

Mokgwabona said the North West provincial commissioner Sello Kwena expressed his disappointment about the unethical conduct of the accused and cautioned that the SAPS will show no mercy to its own members who commit crime.

He said Kwena urged police officers to always act with integrity and to do the right thing even when nobody was watching them.