Ambulances and cop cars smuggle cigarettes into SA – Hawks make six arrests

The arrest of the three suspects‚ aged between 35 and 43‚ take the total number of suspects arrested to six. File photo Picture: Gallo Images/Thinkstock
The arrest of the three suspects‚ aged between 35 and 43‚ take the total number of suspects arrested to six. File photo. Picture: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

A police constable‚ a paramedic and a former South African Revenue Service (Sars) employee from Musina in Limpopo have been arrested by the Hawks for various charges ranging from defeating the ends of justice‚ money laundering and corruption.

The arrest of the three suspects‚ aged between 35 and 43‚ take the total number of suspects arrested to six.

Last week Constables Azwindini Ramphambani (35) Thina Makhokha (35) and Prince Netshiavha (36) from Musina and Muswodi SAPS respectively‚ were arrested for the same cases and will be appearing before the Musina Magistrate court at the end of Novemeber after they were released on R2‚000 bail each.

In the latest arrests‚ on Wednesday‚ the Hawks and Crime Intelligence members arrested a police constable‚ an Emergency Services paramedic and a former SARS Quality Assurer for allegedly being in cahoots with cigarette smugglers in the Musina area.

Captain Matimba Maluleke said: “It is alleged the three suspects accepted bribes from the suspects‚ thereafter they escorted the vehicles carrying illicit cigarettes using police marked vehicles and ambulances‚ ensuring the suspects evaded arrest by other law enforcement agencies.”

National Head of the Hawks Lieutenant General Mthandazo Ntlemeza said that the unit will not stop at nothing in their efforts to root out serious corruption in the SAPS or any government sector. He said South Africa deserved to be served by professional‚ law abiding police officers whose mandate it was to create a safe and secure country for all.

“We have been working on this operation for some time‚ gathering intelligence against the suspects. We are the custodian of the law and order and we cannot afford to fail our people who rely on us for safety and security. There is no room for corruption in the SAPS or in government or private institution. We are continuing with this operation and I am sure we are still going to root out police officers and other officials with criminal mind-sets‚” said Lieutenant General Ntlemeza.

The Provincial Commissioner of Limpopo and his counterpart from the Department of Health will be informed of the arrests to take appropriate action‚ Captain Maluleke said.

The three suspects will appear before the Musina magistrate’s court tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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