Businessman wants probe into docket tampering

2014-03-05 00:00

A DURBAN businessman who has accused a former business partner and friend of theft has asked the country’s top policing unit to investigate docket tampering at the Matatiele Magistrate’s Court.

Umhlanga-based businessman Jihaan Roodt, who has accused his former friend of 15 years, South Coast realtor Bradley Elliott and his son, Dayne Elliott, of theft from their now liquidated business, believes the evidence he submitted to the National Prosecuting Authority has been tampered with.

Concurrently Elliott’s lawyer Paul Preston has asked for the matter to be struck off the roll, claiming there is insufficient evidence to prosecute.

And Elliott has called the allegations “spurious”, saying it should never have gone this far.

Meanwhile the NPA has denied that any docket has been tampered with and has urged Roodt to lay a criminal charge if he has any evidence.

Roodt’s charge of theft against the Elliotts is over an alleged missing R207 000 in takings between October 2005 and October 2007 from a filling station they jointly owned in Matatiele. Dayne managed the business.

The father-and-son duo were charged in mid-2013 and have not entered any plea as yet.

Roodt claims he became aware of the alleged tampered docket on February 19.

In an e-mail sent to Roodt, the National Anti-Corruption Desk said: “The matter will be forwarded to a specialised unit that will deal with it.”

Roodt said the evidence he had submitted to the SAPS and the NPA had been gathered by two private forensic investigators who concluded “that there was merit to progress with criminal charges”.

“I handed these findings, including detailed reports, to the authorities. I know what the file should look like and the one in the DPP’s possession was not what I handed in,” said Roodt.

Preston said he had made representations towards the end of 2013 to the NPA to have the matter struck from the roll.

“I am unaware of the claim by Roodt that there has been docket tampering.

“I made representations to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions [DPP] to have the matter struck off the roll as I believe there is no basis for this allegation,” said Preston.

NPA provincial communications manager Natasha Ramkisson-Kara said they are “not aware of any missing files”.

“[Preston] has made representations to the DPP for the matter to be re-considered. The office of the DPP reviewed the matter and required further information via the SPP [senior public prosecutor] from the SAPS. The matter stands adjourned to May 14.”

Roodt and Elliott, who would lunch three times a week, saw their friendship break down shortly after entering into a business partnership in 2005 when they took ownership of the Matatiele Filling Station, purchased for R1,8 million.

Their relationship broke down when Roodt claimed Elliott owed him R900 000 for a 50% stake in the business. Elliott contested this and stated he was only required to pay R50 for a 50% share. The business was eventually liquidated in 2008.

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