A police officer who was allegedly caught in possession of rhino horns during a sting operation has been released on bail.
Christopher Gumbi, 48, was released from police custody on R500 bail. The crime intelligence officer was charged with armed robbery upon his arrest but this charge had been dropped when he appeared in court, representing himself.
Natasha Ramkisson, KwaZulu-Natal spokeswoman for the National Prosecuting Authority, said:
The prosecutor is the person who formulates the charges by applying the law to what is contained within the docket.”
Gumbi was arrested a week ago after he arranged to meet two undercover agents posing as poachers.
He allegedly pointed his police-service revolver at them, and fled with the horns in an unmarked police car disguised with fake registration plates.
He pleaded not guilty to possession of rhino horns and defeating the ends of justice.
DA police spokesman Dianne Kohler Barnard said Gumbi’s release “speaks of endemic corruption”.
She said poaching syndicates appeared to have infiltrated the country’s judicial system.
For this officer to be given what appears to be special treatment tells me the local [authorities] either do not take it seriously, or are being paid off by rhino horn dealers and organised crime syndicates.”
KwaZulu-Natal police spokesman Major Thulani Zwane said Gumbi returned to work last Monday.
An internal investigation is being conducted and departmental steps will be taken against him. He is not carrying his firearm as it was taken away during his arrest.”