Cops bust their own on drugs, graft charges

From left, are Elsa Botha, Sally Parker, Luise Zambon, Stephny du Plessis, Theresa Petersen, Angelique Fernandes, Pina Agostinelli and Launa Consani.

A Parow policeman is among three officers detained last week on charges of corruption, dealing in drugs, possession of drugs and possession of stolen property – he is the 13th Parow police officer arrested for corruption in less than two years.

The 34-year-old constable, Raymond Maarman, was led away in handcuffs from his house on Wednesday September 14. The other officers are from the Strand and Macassar police stations.

This comes just weeks after crime statistics released on Friday September 2, showed a 30 percent spike in drug-related crimes in the area (“Drug crime up in Parow,” Northern News, September 7).

Parow police spokesman Captain Kevin Williams said the officer had been released on R5 000 bail after appearing in the Bellville Magistrate’s Court on Friday September 16. The case was postponed to Friday September 30 for further investigation.

The arrest comes as Parow police station struggles to rebuild trust with the community after 10 police officers and a former officer were arrested for corruption less than two years ago (“Parow cop shop clean-up,” Northern News, November 12, 2014).

Two weeks later another Parow police officer was arrested on charges of fraud and defeating the ends of justice.

The constable was arrested when he allegedly failed to open a case against a man arrested for drug possession (“Another Parow cop bust,” Northern News, November 26, 2014).

Captain Williams said those cases are still pending.

Parow Community Police Forum chairman Roger Canon said he had only heard about the latest arrest on Monday morning when Northern News contacted him.

He welcomed the arrest, saying: “Society needs to get rid of the bad apples, that also contribute to crime.”

Community Safety MEC Dan Plato praised the police’s efforts to root out corruption in their ranks.

He said that when he went to meetings in Parow there were always questions “from the community about the corrupt officers and credibility of Parow police”.

Mr Plato said the arrest of 13 officers in less than two years “is just far too many” and pointed to a problem at Parow police station, but it also showed that provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khombinkosi Jula was sending out a clear message to the bad apples that they had nowhere to hide.

“I hope that other police officers take note of what happened to their colleagues, and if they are not going to be careful and stop their activities, their arrest will be imminent,” stressed Mr Plato.

Northern News asked the SAPS provincial media office for more information on the arrests, but Captain Frederick van Wyk said no further information was available.

Asked if the members had been suspended on full pay, he said that information would only be available later.