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25 exotic cars seized from Lamborghini-driving ex-cop

Former officer is part of a massive criminal investigation in South Africa.

By Clifford Atiyeh Feb 8, 2013 7:54AM

When a cop pulls up to the station in a Lamborghini -- and he's not Italian -- something is probably wrong.

In the case of former South African police officer Sibusiso Mpisane, now under a federal criminal investigation, that's only the beginning of his car troubles.

On Wednesday, authorities seized nearly $2.5 million worth of exotic cars from Mpisane's $2.8 million mansion, according to several South African media reports, including a Rolls-Royce Ghost and Phantom Drophead, a Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, a Maserati GranCabrio, a Porsche Cayenne Turbo and Panamera Turbo,  two Hummers and two armored BMW 5-Series sedans. Two Lamborghinis were on the roster but not found on the property, according to the newspaper Sowetan. Even a Dodge Ram, which has to be specially imported to South Africa, was included (see some of the cars on flatbeds here).

In total, police confiscated 25 cars from Mpisane's home -- attached to a second three-story home he converted into a "mirror-door, showroom-like garage" -- all gained from a police officer's salary of less than $1,700 per month. In South Africa, 1 in 4 people are without a job, and in many rural townships, the unemployment rate is even higher.

Mpisane's mansion and additional $12.9 million worth of property were also seized.

Sibusiso Mpisane arrives to a party in his Rolls-Royce Ghost (c) Howzit MSNSibusiso Mpisane arrives at a party in his Rolls-Royce Ghost in 2011. (Howzit MSN)

Mpisane's wife, Shauwn, pictured above dancing with Mpisane, is part of a bigger scandal. She owns a construction company that allegedly submitted falsified information to win more than $15.7 million in government contracts, was convicted of tax fraud in 2011 and allegedly spent other government money on lavish parties in 2009 while delaying a low-income housing project and forcing employees out of work. More than a third of those newly built homes were in disrepair, according to the Mail & Guardian, some without working bathrooms.

Still, unlike in many other African nations, corruption in South Africa isn't as rife as this extreme example would suggest. While the underpaid police still have a reputation for accepting bribes and many of the nation's roadways are lined with "hijacking hotspot" signs, the government has been cracking down on criminals as aggressively as the press has uncovered scandals, such as the poaching of rhinos in national parks. With the end of apartheid having occurred little more than two decades ago, it’s impressive that a country that was so deeply divided can now actually bring criminal suspects to court in the name of justice.

But we're not done talking about Mpisane's cars. Mpisane quit the police force around 2008 after a financial investigation that questioned why a full-time police officer was living in a mansion, driving a Lamborghini and owning several businesses with his politically connected wife. Ten years earlier, a car he owned was involved in a shooting outside a court in the same city he served. He was acquitted and never testified, the Mail & Guardian said.

A man in tribal clothing flanks Sibusiso Mpisane's Lamborghini Murcielago at the same party in 2011. (Howzit MSN) A man in tribal uniform flanks Mpisane's Lamborghini Murcielago at the same party in 2011. (Howzit MSN)

In March 2011, tax authorities repossessed three of Mpisane's cars -- including two Lamborghinis and the same Phantom taken by police on Wednesday -- but they were returned when he and his wife finally paid.

At least the authorities left the couple two cars -- a BMW and a Range Rover -- so they can drive to court.

[Source: Mail & Guardian, News24, IOL; Photo, top: Howzit MSN]

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