Top Hawks official in municipal CFO’s case arrested

 The SAPS national intelligence and anti-corruption unit arrested a high ranking Hawks officer for corruption and extortion in a sting operation last week.

Lieutenant Colonel Elias Ledwaba, attached to the Hawks in Kleksdorp branch, was nabbed after he allegedly extorted R100 000 from the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Matlosana municipality, Mercy Phetla.

 Ledwaba appeared before the Pretoria magistrate’s court for corruption and extortion charges and was remanded in custody until February 15.

 The unit members allegedly caught Ledwaba red-handed on Wednesday shortly after receiving the loot from Phetla.

 Ledwaba is the principal investigator in the corruption case against Phetla and two GMHM Construction and Projects employees who were arrested and have already appeared in court. 

 SAPS national spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe confirmed that Ledwaba was arrested by the members of the anti-corruption unit on
Wednesday. She said the police pounced on him when he was found in possession of R100 000 at the parking lot of Silver Oaks Crossing shopping centre, in the posh suburb of Silver Lakes in Pretoria.

 “I can confirm that the DPCI’s (Hawks) Lieutenant Colonel Ledwaba was arrested on charges of corruption and extortion. The complainant, who is the CFO in Matlosana municipality, was approached by the member, who is attached to DPCI in Klerksdorp. He accused the CFO of buying herself an Amarok Volkswagen bakkie after receiving some kickbacks,” said Mathe.

  “Lieutenant Colonel Ledwaba is facing charges of corruption and extortion. He was remanded in custody until February 15 for a formal bail application,” said Mathe.

Sources within the SAPS and the Hawks told Sunday World that Ledwaba had told Phetla that he would make the case disappear since he was the one leading investigations.

“Ledwaba approached Mercy after she was given bail and told her that she would need to give him R1-million to make the case disappear, as he was in charge of investigations. He told Mercy to first pay him R150,000. He also stated that he would be coming back to her every week to take more money from her until it reached R1-million.

“Ledwaba told the CFO that the money should reach R1-million before her second court appearance and that he will make sure that the docket disappears,” said a police source.

Sunday World understands that Phetla told her lawyers about Ledwaba’s extortion, and they advised her to play along. She then borrowed R150 000 from her friend and gave it to the lead investigator.

“The police had made copies of bank notes, and after Ledwaba had taken the money from Phetla, he was arrested on the spot and booked in at Boschkop police station,” said the source.

When contacted, Phetla declined to comment.

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