Phiyega puts KZN Hawks boss on ice

2014-09-28 15:00

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Booysen was suspended along with members of the Cato Manor Serious and Violent Crimes Unit, which he commanded.

City Press has learnt that Booysen and Phiyega met in Pretoria on Thursday ­after she summoned him to discuss the matter.

Phiyega’s move came after she rejected the findings of a disciplinary panel chaired by Advocate Nazeer Cassim SC, which exonerated Booysen and found he was the victim of a complex conspiracy involving top police management.

In papers before the Durban High Court defending himself, Booysen argued he was the victim of a ­conspiracy because he had investigated businessman Thoshan Panday on suspicion of involvement in a R10?million police accommodation scam. He also claimed he was victimised for instituting charges against KwaZulu-­Natal provincial commissioner Mmamonnye Ngobeni for corruption.

In a letter City Press has seen, Phiyega last week wrote to Booysen telling him of her intention of take ­Cassim’s decision on review in the ­labour court – a process that could take up to 18 months to complete.

A source told City Press Phiyega had ordered him not to return to his office because the “trust relationship” between the ­police and the veteran of 30 years had “broken down”. But Booysen defied the instruction and was then ordered to her ­office, according to the source.

The members of the Cato Manor unit are scheduled to appear in the Durban High Court on murder charges in February 2015. They are likely to be buoyed by Cassim’s report, which was leaked to the media this week and which challenges the credibility of several of the ­charges against them.

In his report, Cassim criticised some of the state’s key witnesses, among them the police’s Colonel Rajen Ayer, who left the unit under a cloud.

Cassim’s report was critical of Phiyega and Ngobeni, who, it said, was an “evasive” witness whose testimony was “unsatisfactory...” Phiyega and Ngobeni’s conduct supported “the contention that the charges against Booysen were contrived to get rid of him”.

Booysen was not available for comment and his lawyer, Carl van der Merwe, declined to comment.

Phiyega’s office would not comment on the matter.

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