Top cop in court for 'selling guns stolen from police station'

Gun was confiscated from suspects linked to armed robbery

A MPUMALANGA policeman investigating cases against one of the province's most wanted fugitives, Douglas Mokgakane, yesterday appeared briefly in the Acornhoek Magistrate's Court on charges of defeating the ends of justice.

Captain Calvin Mhaleni , who is attached to the Acornhoek police station, was granted R1000 bail. His case was postponed to June 13 for further investigations.

Mhaleni, 50, was arrested on Monday after he allegedly sold a firearm that was crucial to investigations. The gun was kept in the SAPS exhibit room at the station.

According to provincial police spokesman Colonel Leonard Hlathi the police had confiscated the firearm from suspects during an armed robbery at Bushbuckridge last year.

On Mhaleni's arrest Hlathi said yesterday: "We received information about the deal and the suspect was swiftly nabbed at the Acornhoek Plaza immediately after the transaction..."

Hlathi said a formal internal investigation in terms of the SAPS disciplinary regulations will be instituted against Mhaleni.

Hlathi said provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Thulani Ntobela would only decide on wether to suspend Mhaleni or not after getting a formal report from the Acornhoek police station.

"There are a number of police officials, both junior and senior, who are under investigation for various allegations of misconduct and ill-behaviour in the province.

"The provincial commissioner warns any member with the intention of involving himself or herself in criminal activities that they will be dealt with accordingly," Hlathi explained.

He confirmed that Mhaleni would also face additional charges related to the discovery, in his office, of three other firearms and more than 25 cellphones described as exhibits in cases under investigations.

Hlathi also confirmed that Mhaleni was part of the team working day and night in their hunt for Mokgakane, who had been on the run since late last year.

Mokgakane was initially arrested at Graskop on August 5 last year with four other fugitives after police found them in possession of two stolen vehicles, illegal firearms and ammunition, and suspected stolen bank cards.

He and his co-accused were later linked to more than 50 serious offences ranging from murder, attempted murder, rape, hijacking, armed robbery and many others. They were locked up at the Skukuza police station, where they escaped on November 6

Mokgakane's co-accused have since been rearrested.

He is still on the run.