Panday goes on the offensive

2012-03-31 17:36

If nothing else, multimillionaire Durban corruption accused Thoshan Panday has balls of titanium.

In the face of two separate corruption cases that could earn him 15 years in jail apiece, the flamboyant precious metals dealer and father of four has gone on the offensive, claiming his accusers have abused state resources to nail him as part of a complex political game.

Panday, who turns 40 tomorrow, has been at the centre of a war with KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Major General Johan Booysen for the past two years.

Booysen has been driving a probe into Panday since the Goldcoast Trading boss allegedly ripped off the SAPS by inflating hotel room prices for police guests during the 2010 World Cup to the tune of R60 million.

Panday’s woes don’t end there. Last year he and co-accused Colonel Navin Madhoe allegedly offered Booysen R2 million to backdate evidence and throw the case.

Booysen then set up a sting operation and arrested the two, who now face bribery and corruption charges. They also face charges in terms of the original corruption probe now that forensic auditors have finally been appointed.

Panday, who owns 30 companies – including a copper mine and smelter in the DRC – and has cars valued at R4 million, has been under the spotlight this week as part of the focus of hearings into the SAPS leases and the fitness of national police commissioner Bheki Cele to hold office.

The probe heard that Cele signed off on a R26 million contract for Panday to accommodate 1 280 policemen without it going out to tender.

Panday’s take on events – both in court papers and in person – is that he did nothing wrong by block-booking hotels, upping the prices and selling the rooms to the SAPS.

He argues that he is being targeted by Booysen because the Hawks boss wants provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Mamunye Ngobeni’s job.

Panday allegedly paid R21 000 for Ngobeni’s policeman husband Lucas’s birthday party shortly before being awarded the accommodation contract.

“You tell me, what law says I can’t block-book a hotel and charge what I want for the rooms? What law stops you from being an entrepreneur? There’s none. I’ve done nothing wrong,” Panday told City Press this week.

“Hotel prices are season- and availability-related. The hotels put up their prices for the World Cup, but nobody is charging them. Nobody is questioning what was paid in the other provinces when some of them charged three times what I did. Why am I being singled out? I’ve said in it court: I am being targeted because General Booysen wants to be commissioner.”

He denies any business relationship with President Jacob Zuma’s son, Muzi, who allegedly tried to convince Booysen to unfreeze R15 million of Panday’s cash, or playing a role in getting the dossier released, which has seen Booysen suspended twice.

Panday’s associates add the back story that he is being charged because Cele wanted to pressurise Ngobeni into signing the controversial Durban SAPS lease and that Booysen, an ally of Cele’s, is doing the suspended police chief’s bidding.

“Thoshan has found himself caught up in both the succession battle in the ANC and, because of it, the fight for control of the SAPS. He simply did what any sharp businessman would do by block-booking and reselling the rooms to the SAPS,” said a businessman associated with Panday.

The version of Panday painted by Booysen’s investigators in various court documents is very different.

They describe him as a crooked operator who has worked his way into a position of influence by allegedly corrupting officers in police supply chain management with lavish gifts and payments, using Madhoe and other officers to get cosy deals from the SAPS.

This has resulted in him accumulating massive wealth almost overnight, despite his cheques bouncing shortly before he landed the SAPS accommodation deal.

They have also argued that Panday, through his contacts with crooked cops, has put out a hit on Booysen and is behind an SMS hate campaign against the cop, who has 32 years’ experience, and his suspension over the Cato Manor hit squad dossier.

Panday’s court appearances – including his bail applications – have been all drama, with his legal team – which includes canny criminal attorney Jimmy Howes and Zuma’s legendary advocate, Kemp J Kemp – crying abuse of power.

» Tell us what you think: Leave your comment below or comment on our Facebook page or on Twitter @City_Press
» Did you know? City Press has an iPad app. Find us in the app store

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

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.