South Africa News

Free State traffic cop sentenced to 5 years in jail for corruption

A Free State traffic officer, Tshiya Desmond Modisaotsile Pule, 43, has been sentenced by the specialised commercial crimes court in Bloemfontein to five years’ direct imprisonment after being found guilty on two counts of corruption.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson for the Free State Mojalefa Senokoatsane said the officer was working for the department of police, roads and transport at the Lengau traffic office in Bloemfontein.

“The accused was facing two charges of contravention of section 4 (1) (a), read with sections 1, 2, 24, 25, 26 (1) (a) (ii) and 26 (3) of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, corrupt activities relating to public officers (offering to accept gratification),” Senokoatsane said.

“On August 4, 2017, the accused was working 50km from the Lesotho border when he pulled over the complainant from the road for a speeding offence, and when he requested a copy of the driver’s licence, the complainant could not provide a copy.

“The accused asked the complainant to follow him to his car. The accused told the complainant that he could pay R1,500 through an e-wallet to the accused’s cellphone number in order not to proceed with the matter. The complainant paid the money through an e-wallet and the transaction was successful.”

Three weeks later the dodgy traffic cop was at it again.

“On August 29, 2017, near Bloemfontein the accused wrongfully, unlawfully, and intentionally, directly/or indirectly accepted and/or agreed and/or offered to accept any gratification of R500 for the accused’s benefit,” Senokoatsane said.

“It is alleged that on the day of the incident, the complainant was travelling on the Healesville road, leading to Langehoven Park, when she came across a short double barrier solid line. She was travelling behind a truck, which moved into a yellow line so that the complainant could pass and she passed the truck safely. The complainant noticed blue lights and that is when she saw the accused. The accused followed the complainant to the yellow line and stopped behind her.”

According to the complainant’s testimony, the accused told her she would be detained and asked her how she was going to solve this problem.

“Again, the complainant was asked to e-wallet R500 to the accused’s cellphone number. The complainant told the accused that she did not know how to do e-wallet transactions, and the accused showed the complainant how to do e-wallet transactions, and the money was successfully transferred.”

In aggravation of sentence, the prosecution argued the accused should be sentenced to direct imprisonment as he had “misused and abused his position of authority, he had breached the trust he was entrusted with”.

He was found guilty and sentenced to five years’ direct imprisonment on count one and five years on count two, both sentences to run concurrently.

“The NPA hopes this sentence will send a clear message to other perpetrators of corruption and fraud particularly those who are entrusted to work for the public that indeed the NPA and law enforcement agencies are serious about fighting crime,” Senokoatsane said.

-TL

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