Lamoer’s dodgy life

2015-04-19 15:00

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National commissioner of the SA Police Service, General Riah Phiyega, has finally served her Western Cape provincial counterpart Lieutenant General Arno Lamoer with a notice of intention to suspend him.

He now has until Tuesday to explain why he should keep his job.

Police spokesperson Solomon Makgale confirmed to City Press that Lamoer was served with a letter of intended suspension on Wednesday.

In 2013, Phiyega was caught on a wiretap warning Lamoer he was under investigation by the Hawks and crime intelligence. Phiyega is known to be close to Lamoer, and is also fighting for her job.

Musa Zondi, spokesperson for Police Minister Nathi Nhleko, said on Friday the minister had sought legal advice regarding Phiyega’s conduct in alerting Lamoer about the investigation and on the “appropriate” action to be taken.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate, which investigated Phiyega, had recommended last year that disciplinary action be taken against her, but nothing came of that.

When Lamoer’s trial kicks off in the Western Cape High Court on June 12, he will be defended by criminal attorney Zaheer Karjiker and Advocate Reuben Liddell – at taxpayers’ expense.

Karjiker, who told City Press he was an experienced criminal attorney, is employed by the state attorney’s office. He confirmed he had briefed Liddell to act for Lamoer, and that the state was picking up the tab.

Lamoer appeared in the Goodwood Magistrates’ Court on Friday alongside Stellenbosch cluster commander Brigadier Darius van der Ross, the provincial head of the inspectorate, Brigadier Kolindren Govender, and his wife, Brigadier Sharon Govender, the station commander of the Bellville Police Station.

Cape Town businessman Salim Dawjee has been charged alongside them.

The four police officers and Dawjee have been charged with 109 counts of racketeering, corruption, fraud, contravention of the Firearms Act, obstruction of justice and money laundering.

However, the state is not picking up the legal tab for the other three senior officers. Karjiker said the state had not been instructed to act for them.

The five accused, and Dawjee’s son, Zamir, sat in a row inside Court B where Lamoer and Van der Ross joked with each other.

However, a 117-page indictment document presented in the court is no laughing matter. It details how the four top cops benefited from Dawjee’s largesse and broke the law to benefit him in return.

The four allegedly accepted bribes and gifts totalling R1.6?million from Dawjee – who was previously reported to have had links with drug dealers, a claim he has always denied – during a corrupt relationship that started in 2011.

The indictment refers to Dawjee’s business as “the Enterprise”, which kept Lamoer and the other three accused police officials on “a retainer”.

Dawjee’s gifts to the police officers included a BMW sedan, stays in a guesthouse, full petrol tanks, tickets to jazz festivals, swimming pool maintenance, and an R8?000 payment for Lamoer’s Truworths and Markham clothing accounts.

According to the court papers, Dawjee presented Lamoer – who, if convicted, could receive a prison sentence of 15 years – with at least R75?000 in bribes since 2011.

These bribes also included cash deposits and cheques totalling R52?000, two nights’ accommodation at a guesthouse in Goodwood, and car hire for more than R10?000.

Dawjee allegedly presented the Govenders with a BMW sedan worth R490?000 and a Renault Clio worth R167?000 for their daughter. In return, Kolindren Govender organised fake police documents for Dawjee, which enabled him to buy ammunition.

Court papers state that Dawjee was caught in possession of ammunition, as well as a Norinco pistol from the Cape Town SAPS exhibits store, which he was not licensed to have.

Dawjee’s gifts to Van der Ross allegedly included a R4?000 golf sponsorship and several tanks of petrol.

Dawjee also reportedly gave high-ranking police officials tickets to the Cape Town Jazz Festival, with the expectation of official SAPS transportation in return.

Dawjee heads a family-run towbar-fitting business in Goodwood. One of his companies, Towbars Cape, has been contracted to fit towbars on SAPS vehicles for a number of years.

The indictment reveals that Dawjee was the SAPS’ favoured supplier and had three of his companies bidding for the same contract.

The indictment also reveals how Dawjee acted in an “abusive and threatening” manner towards Goodwood station commissioner Colonel Hansia Hansraj, who blew the whistle on his relationship with her boss and the other officers. The indictment reveals how Hansraj was alarmed when, after a heated meeting, Lamoer called Dawjee on the phone to calm him down.

“[Colonel Hansraj] was alarmed that [Dawjee] had access to such senior SAPS officers and information,” states the document.

Hansraj showed again on Friday that she was not going to allow anyone special treatment.

When Lamoer and the others arrived at the police station before their court appearance, Hansraj refused to have the property’s gates opened for them to drive in quietly. This forced them to walk past journalists who had been waiting for them at the front of the building. The five accused were released on bail of R5?000 each.

Lamoer’s case is not the first time the state will pay the legal bills for a police officer facing criminal charges. Former national police commissioner Jackie Selebi racked up lawyers’ fees of R17.4?million while battling corruption charges in a nine-month trial at the South Gauteng High Court.

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