Alleged drug dealer James Madueme told the East London Magistrate’s Court yesterday that police had demanded he pay a bribe of R30 000 for them not to oppose bail.
The 48-year-old Nigerian national was arrested during the early hours on Wednesday at his Amalinda home, allegedly with drugs worth R1.5-million.
He was arrested alongside his live-in partner Balisa Nyanga, 25.
The couple have a two-year-old child.
They appeared before magistrate Nazeem Joemath to make a formal bail application.
They have been charged with dealing in drugs.
Madueme was represented by Johannesburg-based attorney Moleko Ratau and Nyanga by East London attorney Colin Heneke.
In his affidavit Madueme said the charges against him were weak and this was substantiated by “corrupt advances by the police officer”, who demanded that he pay him R30000 to be deposited into a bank account and in return the officer would not oppose bail.
The alleged conversation took place on WhatsApp and was attached to Madueme’s affidavit.
It had the contact number of the officer and his WhatsApp profile picture.
Ratau told the magistrate: “The police officer in question was in the courtroom in the morning.
“He has been phoning family members of the applicant demanding that they deposit money in his account for the applicant’s release.”
The affidavit was accepted as a court exhibit.
Nyanga said she would plead not guilty because she was confident police were not going to prove that she was a drug dealer.
She said she needed to be released on bail so she could continue breastfeeding her child.
The state called Constable Simphiwe Langben of the provincial organised crimes unit to testify against bail being granted.
He said he opposed bail because Madueme was a flight risk, and that Nyanga should not be granted bail because she had not cooperated with the investigation.
Langben said the couple lived on an Amalinda property where cocaine and tik were found hidden in a wooden cupboard.
“While [Madueme] denied knowledge of the drugs, his partner confirmed that they were his as he had been dealing in drugs since January.”
Langben said Nyanga was unemployed but had two separate bank accounts, which were managed by her boyfriend who was also unemployed.
One account had an amount of R195000 and the other account R140000.
“She told us she did not know how much money was in the account as it was her boyfriend’s money,” Langben told the court.
The bail application resumes today. — firstname.lastname@example.org