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‘DIRTY’ TRIO’S SHOPPING SPREE LEADS TO POCA BUST

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MBABANE – A shopping spree by three ‘dirty’ men who had over E68 000 on them at Bhunu Mall in Manzini, sold out an alleged dagga dealer.

Police then received information that the trio allegedly committed a housebreaking and theft offence at Maphalaleni at a house of Cisco Shabangu, where they made away with a sum of E100 000 and other items. Acting on that information, the law enforcers then reportedly proceeded to Shabangu’s homestead where upon investigations, they discovered bags of the habit forming drug and expensive cars parked thereat. Shabangu, who is aged 29 years reportedly owns properties valued at over E2 million, which include a lavish homestead.

In terms of the Prevention of Organised Crimes Act (POCA), the Crown has since obtained an order to preserve three top-of-the-range cars belonging to Shabangu. The cars are; a Range Rover (Evoque), Gd-6 Toyota Hilux and a Mitsubishi Triton. In motivating the application to preserve the cars and the money, Principal Crown Counsel Elsie Matsebula contended that the cars were acquired using proceeds of unlawful activities.

Vehicles

She brought it to the attention of the court that the motor vehicles and the money as per police investigations were under the ownership of Shabangu, who had no lawful source of income to acquire such. “I do add that per investigations conducted by the police leading to the discovery of such motor vehicles as well as the lavish homestead, Detective Moses Msibi in the company of other officers received a tip-off on the morning of July 6, 2019 that there were about three dirty males carrying a lot of money and were on a shopping spree at the Bhunu Mall in Manzini,” submitted Matsebula, who is also the Head of the Asset Forfeiture Unit.

She narrated to the court that upon arrival, the police confronted the three males and after introductions, they (three males) showed them a lot of money loaded in their pockets. They (trio) according to Matsebula, further freely led the police to their mode of transport (Honda Fit), which was parked at the underground parking bay of the Bhunu Mall.

Investigations

She related that as per investigations, the police accosted the first male, who later told them he was Mpumelelelo and they found him at the Bhunu Mall underground toilets. She told the court that a body search was conducted on him and a sum E4 040 was retrieved. “Police proceeded to Truworths Clothing shop where they found two males fitting clothes in the fitting room. After proper introductions and with caution, they were searched and money was found on them,” she submitted. Matsebula submitted that a sum of E7 890 was found on Mpendulo Mazibuko and a sum of E1 652.90 was found on Wandile Sikhondze of Mpolonjeni, who was the driver of the motor vehicle. 

She told the court that Sikhondze was a taxi driver based in Mbabane. She said during a search, police discovered dagga and dagga seeds in blue plastic bags which were hidden in the boot. “They were taken to the Honda Fit where we discovered a sum of E64 850. Suffice to add that they were unable to disclose the source of the money which was collectively E68 727,” she submitted. “Per investigations, police received information that the trio allegedly committed a housebreaking and theft offence at a house of the respondent (Shabangu) where they made away with a sum of E100 000,”  averred the Crown.

She said the police then found it necessary to interview Shabangu in order to find out the source of the money as they suspected that he might be involved in money laundering, judging from the amount of cash kept at home instead of the bank.  

Summoned

Matsebula told the court that in July 2019, the respondent availed himself at the Mbabane Police Station after being summoned by the police to assist them. Shabangu, according to Matsebula, related how he generated money.  She said following that, police obtained an order compelling First National Bank to provide them with documents pertaining to Shabangu’s credit.“On the same month, police decided to pay the respondent a visit at his homestead acting on the strength of a search warrant, though they could not find him as he eloped after spotting the police car hence they found his girlfriend, one Dlamini, as well as a maid Lethu Mavimbela,” contended Matsebula.She informed the court that after a request to search the premises was granted, police discovered dagga weighing 244.2kg and dagga seeds weighing 2kg, hidden inside Shabangu’s house as well as a tent in the yard.

Furniture

“I do add that several motor vehicles were also found parked outside Shabangu’s homestead. During an interview the trio said the dagga belonged to the respondent. The police also noted the house had flashy furniture,” she argued. She avowed that from the photos that were taken at Shabangu’s homestead, it was clear that he lived through large scale farming and selling of dagga. Matsebula highlighted that this was because the dagga that was found littered there was twofold; as it comprised of one ready for the market while the other was being dried upside-down inside a two- room shack specifically built for such an unlawful purposes.

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