Suspects allegedly find listening device in cell

2008-03-06 00:00

TWO awaiting-trial suspects have laid charges against the SAPS Organised Crime Unit following the discovery of an alleged bugging device in their holding cell.

Shamduth Singh (41) and Wahab Karrim (41) were recently arrested with six others in connection with truck hijackings and robberies.

Lawyers representing Singh and Karrim, Naren Sangham and Associates, have accused the SAPS of using apartheid methods in their investigations.

“The actions of the police are despicable. It is not what you would expect under the present democratic order,” said Sangham.

The lawyers have laid charges against the Organised Crime Unit for contravening Section 2b of the Interception and Monitoring Prohibition Act of 1992.

He said that Singh and Karrim, who are being held at the Thornville Police Station, were warned by a police officer about the bugging in their cell.

Despite a search, the pair did not find the bug that day.

“On Monday, they noticed some loose wires inside the light fitting. They managed to undo the light and found the device inside,” Sangham said.

The device was brought to the lawyers, who had a private investigator examine it.

“He took a single look at the device and said, ‘It’s government issue’. He advised us that it is a voice-activated aid channel bug. If somebody were to speak in that cell, someone sitting two kilometres away in a straight line would be able to pick up the conversation.”

Sangham said he views the determination of the police to keep his clients at Thornville as suspicious. They applied to be moved to Mountain Rise, but this was opposed by the Organised Crime Unit.

Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram confirmed that a case of invasion of privacy had been opened against the SAPS. “A bug was allegedly found in a police cell, the case is under investigation.”

sandilez@witness.co.za

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