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HUNTER, COPS IN STAND-OFF OVER ‘TRAFFICKING’

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MBABANE –There is a stand-off between the police and Private Investigator Hunter Shongwe over a suspect who was allegedly ‘trafficked’ to South Africa.


The suspect, who was allegedly taken back to SA by Shongwe, is wanted in connection with goods worth E1.2 million that he allegedly sold.


This was a commodity which was supposed to be transported to Mozambique by the suspect who was employed by Komati Mine in South Africa.
It has been alleged that a confrontation between Shongwe and police officers ensued at the Ngwenya Border Gate as he (Shongwe) refused to hand over the suspect to the cops.


In a recording which is in this newspaper’s possession, a senior police officer is heard describing how the suspect, who was in the company of the private investigator, allegedly illegally crossed at the border on May 7, 2019. 
The officer alleged that while trying to cross, the suspect was red flagged by the systems and the immigration officers after which police officers took him in for questioning.


The officer alleged that Shongwe immediately followed and forcefully took the suspect from police custody, demanding that they produce a warrant of his arrest.
“When we tried following Shongwe, he disappeared with the suspect and it is not known how they managed to cross over to the South African side,” he alleged.


However, the officer said they crossed to the SA side where they found Shongwe in the company of some people.
According to the officer, when they questioned Shongwe, the private investigator claimed ignorance of the suspect. “We had to use force to get Shongwe talking on where the suspect had disappeared to,” related the officer in the recording.


Recording


He alleged, in the recording, that they had to take Shongwe with them to the Eswatini side where they logged into their systems and discovered that the suspect was wanted at the police headquarters.


While they were still interrogating Shongwe, the senior police officer said a Caucasian man, who had earlier been in the company of the private investigator, approached them.


“The man briefly talked to Shongwe before he surrendered a travel document supposedly belonging to the suspect,” the officer claimed in the recording.
The officer said they engaged with Shongwe at length, explaining that he had committed a crime by illegally facilitating the crossing of a suspect to the neighbouring country.


In an interview with this newspaper yesterday, Shongwe confirmed having been at the border on the day in question.
However, he claimed his presence was never to commit a crime but to assist the suspect hand himself over to the SA police.


Shongwe confirmed that the suspect was wanted by SA police in connection with a crime he allegedly committed while employed at Komati Mine.
He admitted to have facilitated the crossing of the suspect, who was later handed over to the police in SA.
This, he claimed, was after he had received a request from the SA police to assist them.


The PI said he visited the suspect and advised him to surrender himself to the SA police in connection of the crime as he was wanted.
Shongwe alleged that the local police had failed to assist their SA counterparts with the arrest of the suspect.


“I refused that local police arrest him at the border as they had not followed the procedures of handing over someone who was wanted in SA,” he said.
Shongwe said police at the border had no warrant of arrest and had not followed the procedures of the treaty signed by the two countries of surrendering a suspect who was wanted by SA police.

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