Badul hearing told of ‘chaos in police’

2012-08-03 00:00

BRIGADIER Hermias van Zyl, who led an inspection into alleged irregularities at Mountain Rise police station in November 2009, told the high court in Pietermaritzburg the “paper trail” he and his team uncovered was handed over to the Hawks for investigation.

Brigadier van Zyl was responding to questions during cross-examination by the defence at the trial of ex-Mountain Rise station commissioner (then director) Hariram Badul, policemen Suresh Naraindath, Yunus Khan and Bhekuyise Nkabini and businessman Sigamoney Pillay.

His recommendation had been for Badul and Naraindath to be disciplined, because Badul, as station commissioner, and Naraindath, as head of logistics, were ultimately responsible for the equipment at the police station.

This is disputed by the defence, who maintain that there was ­“chaos” within the SA Police Service at the time following restructuring.

Van Zyl agreed with advocate Christo van Schalkwyk SC, for Badul, that “there was confusion at the time as to who was responsible for what”.

Van Zyl also admitted that he had not been aware that a stock-take had been conducted at Mountain Rise in 2008 by one of his team members, a Colonel van Zyl, who gave the station a “clean bill”.

Brigadier van Zyl said he never interviewed Badul at all as he’d left the station the same day the inspection started and a “caretaker” station commissioner was installed.

Van Zyl agreed that he’d regarded policeman Stanley Naidoo, who gave certain information to the team, as “elusive” and “not forthcoming”.

Naidoo is expected to be called as a state witness.

Van Zyl said during the inspection, Naidoo initially told him that three television sets they were looking for were still at the police station.

“He took me to a safe and unlocked it and showed me a television that was very old type and clearly not the flat-screen televisions we were looking for,” Brigadier Van Zyl said.

After “lengthy interrogation” Naidoo had said that the three TVs had “dropped from a shelf and the screens cracked … that was why they were auctioned off”.

He said he did not really believe the version.

The state alleges that all the accused — with Badul at the helm — were part of a criminal “enterprise” to procure goods and services, ostensibly on behalf of Mountain Rise police station, from which they’d derived personal benefits in a number of ways.

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