Ex cop: I’m a new man

2015-03-18 00:00

EX-POLICEMAN Sugen Naidoo yesterday told Rajivee Soni’s defence lawyer to ­refrain from calling him names like “self-confessed drug addict, liar, extortionist, fraudster and thief”.

Naidoo said he’s “changed his life” after coming clean and making his statement in the case. “I was those things, but today I’m not … Please refrain from calling me those things,” he told Naren Sangham.

He said this after Sangham asked him why his evidence should be believed after he admitted he was all of the above.

“I am telling the truth. Everything I­ ­testified about happened,” Naidoo said.

Soni has pleaded not guilty to the murder of local doctor, Bhavish Sewram on May 13, 2013, allegedly because he suspected him of having an affair with his wife.

He has also denied involvement in an alleged smear campaign to get revenge on Sewram.

Naidoo yesterday invoked his right not to answer questions that could incriminate him on charges other than those related specifically to Soni’s trial.

On Monday, the court ordered police to arrange protection for Naidoo and his family after he testified that he feared for their lives.

Under further cross examination yesterday, Naidoo insisted he and Soni became “good friends”.

“Basically we became good friends and partners in crime,” he told Judge Jaqueline Henriques and assessor Gerhard Barnard.

But Naidoo said his motive had been to make money out of Soni.

He said when Soni revealed he’d paid “other policemen” R45 000 for a botched attempt to plant drugs on Sewram, he realised he was “stupid” and would pay almost anything to embarrass the doctor.

Naidoo said one plan was that he should plant drugs in the doctor’s surgery.

“It was a simple plan. I would walk in, put the drugs in the drawer and charge him [Sewram].”

Naidoo said Soni offered to pay R25 000.

He had enlisted a colleague, Warrant Officer Darryl Gounder, to help, but said he had never intended to carry out the plan and had “deceived” Soni.

Soni had given him R2 000 to buy drugs, he said, which he used to buy a “jaw” of cocaine from his brother-in-law for R1 000 and paid off a drug debt with the rest.

He then “smoked” about R300 worth of cocaine which he bought “on account” while waiting until Sewram’s surgery closed.

Soni told Gounder to keep the cocaine and that they should carry out the plan the next day. Unbeknown to Gounder, ­Naidoo had smoked the cocaine that night, then made up the story that Gounder’s wife had washed his pants with the drugs in them.

Soni thereafter again gave him R1 000 to buy drugs.

This time he’d pretended to Soni that at the surgery the doctor became suspicious and the plan had to be aborted.

He claimed Soni subsequently paid him R10 000 (instead of R25 000) as the doctor was not arrested.

Sangham said Soni denies telling Naidoo to plant drugs on Sewram, or that he paid him any money for that purpose.

The case will continue tomorrow, as the court agreed to allow Soni to attend a business meeting in Johannesburg today.

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