Informant tells how cops hoodwinked fellow officers

A police informant told the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg how West Rand senior officers hoodwinked their colleagues into thinking they were conducting legitimate drug raids when they were in fact smuggling drugs.

Informer Norman Kokoeng was testifying on Thursday in a drug dealing, racketeering and fraud case against Senior Superintendent Dumisani Jwara (43), Captain Landro Mokgosani and Captain Victor Jwili (38).

The fourth accused in the matter, Captain Sakhepi Caiphus Shange, died in police custody in July this year.

“Sometimes uniformed local police officers will come while we were busy with the raid ... maybe after a neighbour had called and complained about the noise.

“... When they got there, we just told them we were from the Organised Crime Unit in the West Rand and they would just observe ...
so we still managed to keep some of the drugs for ourselves and gave them a few to hand over as exhibits, then hand over the suspects,” Kokoeng said.

He said after handing over the suspects and some of the drugs, they would drive with the local police to the nearest police station where a case would be opened against the people whose homes they raided.

They would then drive off with the drugs they had kept for themselves, without raising the suspicion of their colleagues.

The drug smuggling operation involving the police officers was allegedly conducted between 2005 and 2007 in the Johannesburg suburbs of Paulshof, Fourways and Sandton as well as Lyttelton in Pretoria.

One of the biggest drug smuggling incidents they were allegedly involved in was the theft of 198kg of cocaine from the OR Tambo International Airport which they later sold for R1 425 000.

Another raid yielded R80 000 after a “rare form of heroin” was sold to dealers in Hillbrow in 2005.

Kokoeng told the court how he and Jwara had gone out in search of a man with connections in the drug underworld to help identify the “unusual” powdered drug called “off-white”.

“At some point we had drugs that we could not tell if they were heroin or cocaine so we had to get Phenyo Phofu to come help because he knew better-connected Nigerians in the drug industry,” Kokoeng said.

Once Phofu was located in Hillbrow, Jwara and Kokoeng gave him the powdered drug, contained in an egg-shaped container, and waited for him in the car while “he went to test it with the right people”.

Phofu also told the two men that he would also get a buyer for them.

The pair grew increasingly worried when Phofu took time to return, but after a two-and-a-half hour wait, Phofu called to say the drug was a “rare form of heroin”.

When he returned to the car, Phofu said he “could only get R80 000 for the stuff.”

Before handing over the money to the two men, Phofu allegedly counted it in the car and handed it over to Kokoeng in clumps of R1 000 notes. He then passed it over to Jwara.

Kokoeng said they then gave Phofu R10 000 for his trouble and took the rest themselves.

When the court adjourned on Thursday afternoon, defence lawyer Nardus Grove was cross-examining Kokoeng regarding a statement he made to Pretoria police on the drug smuggling cops while he was detained in Klerksdorp in North West in 2007.

Judge Nico Coetzee postponed the matter at 2pm on Thursday to allow the state to obtain the original copy of a statement written by Kokoeng in 2007.

The case would continue on Friday.—Sapa

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