A warrant officer and two police constables who accused a resident of selling cigarettes when this was banned under lockdown - and then allegedly forced him to part with R3,000 - have appeared in court for extortion.
Detectives from the provincial anti-corruption unit in KwaZulu-Natal arrested the trio - aged 50, 34 and 28 - on Monday. They appeared in the Verulam magistrate’s court on the same day.
“Their arrest came after the complainant alleged that on the night of June 12, the three police officers stationed at Phoenix arrived at his place of residence and accused him of selling cigarettes,” police spokesperson Capt Nqobile Gwala said on Wednesday.
“They forced him to pay R3,000 and also took his cigarettes to the value of R14,000.
“The three suspects were identified and placed under arrest. They were each granted bail of R2,000 and the matter was remanded to January 15 2021.”
At the time of the alleged incident, when the country had moved to level 3 of the national lockdown on June 1, restricted sales of alcohol were permitted but the sale of tobacco remained prohibited.