Panday: ‘Absurd’ to give R2 mln bribe

2011-09-28 00:00

ALLEGATIONS of “smokescreens” and “sabotage” were made against police by accused fraudsters Thoshan Panday and policeman Navin Madhoe in court yesterday.

After a slow start at the commercial court, their bail application was sent to be heard in the magistrate’s court today.

Panday’s arrest came after a sting operation in which Madhoe, an officer in supply-chain management, allegedly attempted to bribe KwaZulu-Natal Hawks head Johan Booysen to backdate a document on Panday’s instructions.

Booysen also claimed that Panday had taken out a contract on his life.

Panday — the focus of a probe into a R60-million tender for police accommodation — was arrested at O.R. Tambo International Airport on Saturday, on his return from Zambia.

Panday last year allegedly organised and paid for a birthday party for Brigadier Lucas Ngobeni, the husband of KwaZulu-Natal police chief Lieutenant-General Mamunye Ngobeni.

Madhoe was arrested moments after he put a suitcase containing almost R1,3 million into Booysen’s car recently. It is alleged that a further R700 000 was to be paid later. The funds were apparently made available by Panday.

Madhoe yesterday denied any bribery allegation, saying the claim was a desperate measure taken by the Hawks to revive a dormant case.

He claimed that while in custody he has been approached on several occasions by various policemen proposing that he turn state witness, which he refused on the grounds that he is innocent.

Madhoe claims that the case, which is more than a year old, was quickly turning cold, and that he was a pawn used in an attempt to revive it and strengthen a smear campaign against Lucas Ngobeni.

He also denied any relationship with Panday and added that since his arrest, there was no formal disciplinary hearing against him, but he has been suspended from work.

Madhoe also suggested that procurement documents pertaining to the alleged corrupt tender process were conveniently distributed at his place of work before police raided his office.

Madhoe’s lawyer, Joe Wolmarans, refused to co-operate with the media or to give out copies of his client’s affidavit, something that is usually made available to journalists.

“I choose not to liaise with journalists, since the facts are always misconstrued,” he said.

He claimed that the case is being tried by the media, and the “facts” must not be sidetracked.

Panday’s lawyer Jimmy Howse, said his client is “more than willing” to co-operate with the courts and is not a flight risk.

Panday claimed that it was absurd to think he would part with R2 million, especially for such a risky deal.

There was a bail recommendation of R40 000 made by Madhoe’s attorney, while Howse did not stipulate the amount Panday could afford. “My client will co-operate with any reasonable bail amount,” said Howse.

rowan.sewchurran@witness.co.za

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