Police officer, Lamborghini man among five in court for OR Tambo heist

Acting police commissioner Acting Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane asked media not to solicit information from cops. Photo: Gallo

Police have confirmed a police officer is one of the five suspects appeared briefly in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

The case was postponed for a bail hearing until March 28 and 29.

“We wish to reiterate our stance as the South African Police Service, that there is no place for corrupt or criminal elements in our organisation and this arrest sends a strong message that we will continue to investigate without fear or favour,” the police said in a statement.

At the same time, a controversy has emerged over a photograph of a man posing with a Lamborghini. According to some reports on Twitter, the man has owned the car for three years. But an ANN7 reporter on the scene confirmed that the man posing in the picture appeared in connection with the March 7 R20-million heist.

The court has requested that no names and no photographs of the accused be used at this stage, but some media organisations have named one of the men posing in the photograph, a businessman, and said that the car was not bought with the proceeds of the heist but apparently had been bought three years ago.  

The police said it was going to investigate leaks from among its ranks for leaking information to the media.

“Soliciting information from members who are involved in the investigation is noted with serious concern. We are looking into the matter, to establish which of our members are leaking information to various media houses,” acting Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane said.
“This is not assisting us in any way with regards to the ongoing investigation. The publishing of articles should not be to the detriment of our investigation and will not be condoned.”

Police would not divulge the items of evidence seized by the police during the investigation.

“Items of evidence seized by the police during the course of the investigation will be presented in court during the trial of the accused. Our investigations are continuing and information gathered, including the roles played by individual accused, will also be court-directed,” said the Acting National Commissioner, Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane.

The multidisciplinary team was thanked.

“We congratulate the team on their hard work, a combination of intelligence gathering and old-fashioned detective work.  Their efforts have culminated in the recent arrests and court appearance of those allegedly involved in the ORTIA robbery which we view as a serious security breach at a national key point,” said  Phahlane said.

– ANN7 reporter