Top cop’s spy tape scandal

2014-09-29 00:00

BELEAGUERED police commissioner Riah Phiyega faces a fresh spy tape scandal — accused of seizing explosive cell interceptions of controversial Umhlanga businessman Thoshan Panday.

Panday’s phone was tapped during a corruption investigation into his involvement in the R60 million police accommodation tender scam, and the recordings had gathered dust after the charges were surprisingly withdrawn. (SEE SIDEBAR)

Panday had been probed by suspended KZN Hawks Head Johan Booysen, who maintained that the investigation into the politically connected businessman resulted in his suspension, and that of Cato Manor Serious and Violent Crimes unit, dubbed a “death squad”.

The Witness can reveal that just days before Booysen was exonerated by a sitting advocate in a police disciplinary hearing, Phiyega ordered the tapes be handed over and taken to Pretoria.

Three independent Crime Intelligence Unit sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the original intercepts contained on a compact disc as well as a back-up from the national listening post in Pretoria, had been handed to Phiyega’s men.

Her move — a break in the chain of evidence of the recordings — may scupper any chance of reinstating corruption charges against Panday.

The seizure of the tapes comes amidst a groundswell of criticism of Phiyega, who is now fighting battles on many fronts and will have to contend with a ministerial inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

It also follows another spy tapes scandal, in which she was recorded tipping off Western Cape police head Anton Lamoer about an investigation into his links with suspected criminals.

On September 5, 10 days before Booysen was cleared by Advocate Nazeer Cassim SC, the Crime Intelligence custodian of the intercepts was ordered to fly to Pretoria and hand over the tapes.

On September 15 officers visited the national listening post in Pretoria where records of intercepted phone calls are archived, and requested the Panday tapes.

The Witness also understands that four Crime Intelligence Unit officers who had been at the forefront of investigations into Panday have been served with notices that they themselves will now be under scrutiny.

The notices informed the officers that they are under investigation for the alleged illegal interception of Panday’s calls, an allegation that the businessman is understood to have made.

Among these officers is Major-General Deena Moodley, who headed the unit in KZN.

Shortly after Booysen was moved from his post, Moodley was also sidelined and transferred from the Crime Intelligence Unit. He took the police to the Labour Court and won, having his transfer set aside.

But in a similar case to that of Booysen, Moodley was hit with fresh disciplinary charges after allegations from Panday and placed on “special leave”.

Now Booysen and Moodley remain out of office as the police pursue separate court applications to keep them away from work.

Phiyega was appointed two years ago and much of her reign has been mired in controversy, including her handling of the Marikana massacre. Her spokesperson Solomon Makgale had not responded to questions in time for the press.

• Contact Jeff Wicks on 082 073 8565 if you have more information on the story.


Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.