Badul maintains silence

2013-08-22 00:00

FORMER Mountain Rise station commander Hariram Badul and four co-accused have elected not to testify at their racketeering trial.

State advocate Wendy Greef yesterday closed the prosecution’s case and legal representatives for all the accused — Badul, Captain Suresh Naraindath, Lieutenant Colonel Yunus Khan, Constable Patrick Nkabini and businessman Sigamoney Pillay — immediately closed the defence case without calling the accused to give evidence.

They will also not be calling any defence witnesses.

The anticipated date for judgment is December 13.

Adjourning the case until December 9 for oral arguments, Judge Rashid Vahed wryly commented; “Gentlemen, I’m sure when we started you thought you’d never see this day”.

The trial initially began in the high court on July 30, 2012.

At first the accused faced 128 charges of racketeering, fraud, theft, corruption and money laundering, but in August last year, the prosecution dropped 30 of the fraud charges, which related to allegedly unjustified services and repairs carried out at the Mountain Rise police station. The case then proceeded on the remaining 98 counts.

The prosecution’s case is based on allegations that while at the helm of Mountain Rise police station, Badul masterminded a pattern of racketeering activities involving his co-accused and others for their own enrichment. The accused all pleaded not guilty and denied any wrongdoing.

In the course of the trial, the defence has questioned the integrity and motives for the investigation.

In June this year the defence succeeded in an application to declare all searches carried out at Badul’s home and farm at Bishopstowe during the investigation to be illegal.

This means the court will disregard any evidence relating to property allegedly recovered during these raids.

One of the state’s key witnesses in the trial was a former policeman at Mountain Rise, Inspector Yugen “Stanley” Naidoo, who remains in witness protection. Naidoo alleged in his evidence that while he was employed in the supply chain management office at the police station, he’d forged Badul and Naraindath’s signatures on hundreds of documents with their blessing.

He also testified that Badul had promised to “take care” of him and had always made sure he got an annual performance bonus, and provided him with a bakkie, which he’d used to run private errands for Badul.

The court heard evidence about various alleged scams operating at the police station allegedly at Badul’s behest, to enrich himself, including a “jobs for pals” scheme and another to obtain cash in lieu of equipment paid for by the SAPS.

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