Senior cop in kidnap unit accused of extorting cash from family of victim
A senior Johannesburg police officer has been accused of trying to extort money from the family of a businessman who was kidnapped in the city’s CBD in April.
In an exposé aired on Carte Blanche on Mnet on Sunday night, the officer was named as a commander of the police kidnapping task team.
The investigative programme played audio recordings captured by a family friend of the kidnap victim.
In the recordings, a man believed to be the lieutenant-colonel is heard telling the family friend — who was handling all dealings with the police on behalf of the family — he needed R40,000 to push for the abducted man’s safe return.
At the time, the kidnappers had made known their ransom demand of R6m from the family and were threatening to kill him should the family not co-operate.
The family friend told Carte Blanche the officer would call him at all hours of the night, providing updates on the progress of the case, but suddenly changed his tune and asked for R40,000 to ensure the speedy resolution of the case.
“If we go for 40, what do you say so I can push these other people?,” he is heard saying, referring to R40,000.
The family friend is heard seeking clarity on whether he wants R4,000 or R40,000. The police officer puts to him that he should say what he can offer so he can “push these people.”
“You tell me what you want. I will give you whatever you want,” the family friend is heard saying.
“Let’s not ask for too much. Let’s go for R20k then,” the police officer is heard saying, downgrading his demand.
Hours before the kidnapped man was released, the man believed to be the officer was heard on yet another recording calling the family friend and asking if their agreement still stood, but hiking the price back to R40,000.
The officer has been arrested by the Hawks and is facing two counts of corruption. He is expected to appear in court on Monday.
In a written response to Carte Blanche, the officer denied the allegations levelled against him, suggesting the matter would be handled by the court.
The SA Police Service was not immediately available for comment.