‘Panday likely to influence witnesses’

2012-04-17 00:00

ABOUT three months after being released on bail of R100 000 after allegedly trying to bribe a general with R2 million, an Umhlanga businessman allegedly contacted another policeman with a request to falsify invoices for him.

Judging by this, it is likely that Toshan Panday (44) would interfere with state witnesses, commit an offence or undermine justice should he be released on bail again, Colonel Phillip Herbst argued in a sworn statement.

The state yesterday submitted his statement to the Durban Regional Court, where Panday is applying for bail.

Despite having been in custody since before Easter, Panday appeared in the witness box in a smart black suit.

It appeared from court proceedings that he is being held in isolation in Westville prison because his is a high-profile case.

Soon after his arrest on April 3, Panday was taken to the eThekwini heart hospital in connection with chest pains, anxiety and depression.

Herbst said in court papers that from discussions with Captain Kevin Stephen, the police officer whom Panday and Captain Ashwin Narainpershad had allegedly asked to falsify invoices, Panday had indicated that he had the contacts to influence witnesses and police actions.

According to court papers, Panday argued that acting national police chief General-Major Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, and a deputy commissioner of police in KwaZulu-Natal, General Bongani Ntanjana, were to have signed the false invoices.

Panday bought Stephen a printer with which to produce the fake invoices, Herbst said in a statement.

Stephen reported the attempt to bribe him to the police.

Meetings with Panday at, among other places, service stations and on the roof of Panday’s office building, were captured on tape and film as part of a three-month secret operation.

The alleged falsification of about 340 invoices came after Panday demanded on several occasions that the police pay him outstanding amounts of at least R15 million.

Invoices that Panday presented to the police for accommodation he had arranged for police officers, including during the Soccer World Cup, form part of an investigation into alleged fraud of R60 million.

The police are not conducting any vendetta against Panday as he is alleging, Herbst said in his statement.

Panday was arrested on a charge of corruption in September when, during a police trap, money was handed to General-Major Johan Booysen, allegedly to induce him to interfere with the fraud investigation.

The bail application continues today.

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