Brother ratted on sister to avoid prosecution

2008-05-12 00:00

The brother of alleged drug queen Ramjini Chetty admitted in the regional court in Pietermaritzburg on Friday that he decided to turn state witness against his sister to avoid being locked up himself on drug charges.

Goonasilen “Gavin” Chetty gave evidence on Thursday implicating his sister and her four co-accused — Joyce Komane, Surychand Maharaj, Bongi Dlamini and Jessendren Pillay — in drug dealing activities in the city that spanned over more than a decade.

He said he bought and sold cocaine and mandrax on his sister’s behalf over many years — although he was unable to give specific dates or the year when certain transactions were performed.

He told regional magistrate Chris van Vuuren that drugs were sold from Chetty’s two properties in Queen Street, Pietermaritzburg, and said runners controlled by Chetty, including himself, would also carry out deliveries on some orders.

Under cross-examination by defence advocate Fanie Slabbert, Chetty agreed that when his sister was initially arrested on these charges on November 25, 2005, he assisted her with getting bail.

He contacted a niece in London asking for money and agreed that she transferred about R100 000 into his account for the bail. He obtained power of attorney and used the money to pay bail.

“My sister and I never got on … but, well, you always help your own blood,” he responded to Slabbert’s questions.

Asked what changed his mind he said he “thought it over carefully” and realised that it was not worth his while to “get locked up”.

He said he has a wife and child to think about and he stopped dealing in drugs and did not want to be involved any longer.

“I admit I did wrong things in my time,” he said.

Chetty denied that the state’s Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) struck a deal with him whereby they agreed to return a vehicle to him in exchange for his testimony against Ramjini Chetty.

He said he did get his vehicle back “after about a year”, but had nothing to do with the AFU.

Chetty said he decided on the night of March 31, 2006 to make a statement to investigators concerning his sister’s drug business after he was “picked up” and questioned.

He agreed that the Scorpions investigators who interviewed him warned him that he could be charged too.

He denied during the cross-examination that he was giving “false” evidence in order to avoid prosecution.

Slabbert also put it to Chetty during his questioning that he was “making up stories” in the witness box to explain contradictions between his testimony and statements he made to investigators.

Chetty was also questioned regarding a camera and transmitter that he had discovered in a security system installed in a flat in Alexandra Road during a period when his sister resided there.

He admitted that he found these devices and said the Scorpions questioned him about it and wanted to know where they were. He told them that he handed them over to a firm of attorneys.

The case is proceed

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