SABC News - OR Tambo heist arrests: Phahlane praises investigating team:Monday 20 March 2017

OR Tambo heist arrests: Phahlane praises investigating team

Monday 20 March 2017 20:18

Neo Makwiting and TV Bulletins

It is understood the suspects dressed as police officers stopped cash in transit security personnel from Guard Force who were transporting the money to an awaiting SAA flight. (ORT )

A police officer is among five suspects who appeared in court on Monday in connection with the brazen robbery at OR Tambo International Airport earlier in March.

They briefly appeared in court this afternoon on charges of armed robbery. They were not charged as the case was postponed to next Wednesday for a formal bail application.

Acting National Police Commissioner, Kgomotso Phahlane, has praised the police investigating team for the arrests. Phahlane has applauded the team and wouldn't divulge any details about the cash.

Two weeks ago, a group of people pretending to be police officers stole millions of rand in foreign currency at the OR Tambo International Airport. Reacting to the weekend arrest of five suspects, Phahlane applauded the team of top investigators from the police unit and the Hawks. He says they did splendid investigative work with the arrest of the five suspects, who include a police officer.  

"We can report that five people were arrested over the weekend and those people would have appeared in court today. It is regrettable that one of the five arrested is a member of the SAPS; It is regrettable at the same time to know that one of our own is found to be on the wrong side of the law ...  we will take action and there is evidence in that regard."

Phahlane says following the weekend's breakthrough, police working on the OR Tambo heist hope to make more arrests. He says the preliminary investigation shows that the heist was carried out by more than five people.

"These five people arrested are not the only ones that were involved. We are still pursuing others suspects and we can only call upon the community at large - those with concrete information on the whereabouts of the remaining suspects to work together with the SAPS to ensure that the perpetrators of this crime are brought to book."

Office of the Chief Justice break-in: No arrest yet  

On the weekend break-in at the Office of the Chief Justice, Phahlane says the team investigating the case is following up on information and leads gathered through intelligence and no arrest has been made so far.

"We are still in the early stages following this unfortunate crime which we consider to be an attack on the authority of the State and attack on the Office of the Chief Justice. We will do everything in our power to thoroughly investigate with the purpose of bringing whoever is responsible to book."

Phahlane called on members of the public including political parties to refrain from making what he calls irresponsible statements.   

"We strongly condemn any irresponsible statements and or utterance attribute without any basis. allegations to ministers and - or institutions of government  without facts. We call upon anyone who has got the credible information to approach the investigation officer to deposit a sown statement to that effect."

Phalane says those arrested in connection with the OR Tambo heist, will be charged with robbery and a related charge of conspiracy to commit crime.

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