Ricochet News

Businessman’s assets attached after he sold drugs to undercover officer

By Afikile Lugunya - Apr 12, 2018
Businessman’s assets attached after he sold drugs to undercover officer

The National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) Asset Forfeiture Unit in East London early this week attached property belonging to a local businessman.

According to NPA Eastern Cape spokesperson, Tsepo Ndwalaza, officers seized 49-year-old Simphiwe Qwememe’s assets after they were granted an order by the Bhisho High Court.

It is alleged that the seized assets were bought with proceeds from Qwememe selling mandrax.

He apparently had unwittingly sold mandrax tablets to an undercover Organised Crime Unit of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (DPCI) agent on three occasions.

“On each occasion, the operative purchased 1 000 mandrax tablets from Qwememe himself.

“Qwememe, according to the evidence, used his home, which is situated on a farm in the Berlin area, as the base from which to store the Mandrax and as a delivery point for the undercover operative,” Ndwalaza described.

“Qwememe also used two different motor vehicles to deliver the Mandrax on different occasions.

“Both of these vehicles were seized during the operation as they were used as instrumentalities of the offence of dealing in drugs.

“When Qwememe was arrested, the police officials also recovered, at his home, and at the butchery that he runs in Mdantsane, cash amounts to the value of R282 615.”

He added that the cash was also seized as the proceeds of Qwememe’s unlawful activities.

According to Ndwalaza, Qwememe used his sister a front to cover his crimes.

“During Qwememe’s arrest 10 000 Mandrax tablets, with a street value of approximately R360 000, were also found hidden on his farm.

“In total, the AFU managed to preserve assets to the value of more than R3 000 000.

“These include the farm itself, the two vehicles that Qwememe had used to deliver the Mandrax, the cash that was recovered as well as two BMW motor vehicles that were found on the property and are registered in Qwememe’s sister’s name,” he described.

“In a separate case that was linked to Qwememe’s matter during the investigation, the AFU managed to obtain a second preservation against the property of Libele Soyamba who had also concluded controlled purchases of Mandrax and Tik from a police operative. In this second matter, R12 300 and a Toyota Corolla are subject to a preservation order.

“This entire operation highlights the smooth interaction and collaboration between the crime fighting units of the State and the unceasing battle against crime and criminals. It also highlights the determination of units like the DPCI and the AFU, who, together, ensure that crime, does not pay.”