POLICE OFFICER EXTORTS CAR | A BEITBRIDGE police officer has been arrested for allegedly extorting a Mazda 323 vehicle, $220, R2 350 and a laptop from a Malawian who attempted to bring the car into the country without following proper procedures.
Constable Freddy Masilela (28) stationed at Beitbridge Urban Police Station allegedly took the money and property from Bright Cheyo. A source said Cheyo was arrested at Beitbridge Border Post on January 31 at around 8AM for “false representation.”
“Cheyo declared that his vehicle was still registered in South Africa to evade carriage costs. He intended to take the vehicle to Malawi but Cst Masilela impounded it at the border.
“Cheyo was detained at the police station. His brother, Stanford Cheyo travelled from South Africa to rescue him,” said the source that preferred anonymity.
Cst Masilela allegedly took $143 and R2 000 from Stanford saying he would use it to pay a fine for his brother. Bright, said the source, appeared in court on February 2 and the magistrate fined him $80 or two months in prison.
Cst Masilela allegedly told Stanford he no longer had his money and the Malawian was forced to pay the fine from his own pocket to save his brother from going to prison.
Cst Masilela allegedly ordered Stanford to surrender his passport and car keys. “He went on to negotiate with his fellow colleagues at the border post for the release of the vehicle which he took into his custody. He took the car to his home,” said the source.
Cst Masilela then met Stanford with a clearing agent. “He told Stanford the clearing agent who had facilitated the release of the vehicle from Zimra wanted $500 for his services. Stanford forked out only R350.
“The agent asked Stanford what other valuable assets were inside the car. The agent took a laptop which Cst Masilela said was equal payment for clearing the car,” he said.
“Again, after two days, Cst Masilela met Stanford at a supermarket in Beitbridge with a person that he referred to as an Immigration Officer and demanded R1 000 for the extension of days on his passport since he had overstayed in Zimbabwe.
“Cst Masilela suggested that Stanford sells his brother’s car if he did not have the money but he refused,” said the source.
Stanford eventually reported the matter to the police who arrested Cst Masilela on Friday.
Police allegedly recovered the vehicle at a garage where Cst Masilela had allegedly taken it for tinting.
Matabeleland North police spokesperson Inspector Philisani Ndebele could not be reached for comment on his mobile phone.