Another case of FS border post officials taking bribes in court

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Yet another case surrounding Free State port of entry police officers benefiting from alleged unlawful and criminal proceeds, this time at Calendonspoort border between Fouriesburg and Lesotho, is before the courts.

The 12 police officials who were arrested at the Caledonspoort port of entry stand accused of similar crimes to that of seven border post officials who were sentenced to 12 years imprisonment by the Bloemfontein High Court last week.

Hawks spokesperson, Lynda Styen, says the twelve are charged with corruption, fraud and contravening the immigration act for allegedly aiding Lesotho nationals to cross the border back to Lesotho.

The case, which is being investigated by the Hawks in the province, is currently playing out in the Bethlehem Magistrates Court after the twelve were arrested in March 2013.

Steyn further tells OFM News that the case began yesterday and is scheduled to resume until December 13 in Bethlehem.

Last week Judge Martha Mbele dismissed the seven convicted border police officers’ application for leave to appeal the conviction and sentence of 12 and 6 years respectively in the Bloemfontein High Court.

Judge Mbele said their reasoning was not sufficient to sway another court or judge in a different direction. The officers were found guilty on three charges that included racketeering, corruption, and violating the Immigration Act.

Mbele sentenced accused number one to six to an effective jail term of 12 years imprisonment and sentenced accused number seven to 6 years imprisonment, running concurrently.

In handing down judgement last week, Judge Mbele spoke of how corruption eats at the moral fibre of society, and those tasked with making sure that the scourge was dealt with were the ones perpetuating the crime.

OFM News/LUCKY NKUYANE