Cops under fire in drug case

Lee-Anne Butler

THE defence counsel for Bluewater Bay businessman Livingstone Makasholo, who is on trial for a string of drug-related charges, believes the case was riddled with “constitutional infractions” because police did not follow the proper procedures during his arrest

Terry Price, who is defending Makasholo during his marathon trial at the Port Elizabeth High Court, accused senior police officers involved in the case of negligently obtaining a warrant, not properly informing Makasholo of his rights and of attempting to incriminate him by alleging he tried to bribe them.

Makasholo, 56, is facing charges of dealing in drugs, corruption, money laundering and the possession of an unlicensed firearm. Police confiscated drugs, cars and cash worth more than R12-million during his arrest on April 20 2010.

During closing arguments yesterday, Price said not only was the warrant which police officials obtained invalid, but they did not properly inform Makasholo of his rights that he could have a lawyer present.

“We are talking about senior and experienced police officers and a magistrate who should have known better,” he said.

Price also said the fingerprints of nine other people were found on bags containing mandrax tablets and money but only Makasholo was facing the charges.

He said Makasholo would not incriminate himself further by attempting to bribe only two policemen when two others were with them. But state advocate Martin le Roux said Makasholo was an intelligent man who understood his rights and made “a conscious decision” to bribe the policemen involved.

He said Makasholo pleaded not guilty to the charges but offered no plea explanation.

“The fact that the keys to the padlock on the trunks [containing the mandrax] was in the possession of the accused proves the contents were under the control of the accused.”

The case was postponed to April 8 for judgment.