‘He seemed like a child’

2015-03-07 00:00

PROMINENT Pietermaritzburg policeman Captain Pipes Haffajee is the man who has been fingered as murder accused Rajivee Soni’s police “contact”.

This emerged yesterday during the evidence of ex-Mountain Rise policeman and self-confessed drug addict Sugen Naidoo.

Haffajee was spotted for a brief time in the public gallery at court yesterday, but left when court adjourned for tea.

Naidoo has confessed to helping Soni with numerous attempts to “smear” and eventually to “hurt” the man he viewed as a love rival, Pietermaritzburg doctor Bhavish Sewram. He said yesterday that Soni was “extremely angry” when he learned via cellphone that a false sexual assault case he had caused to be laid against Sewram was over.

“He [Soni] had wasted so much of money and nothing could be done … He then said even his contact in the police had taken so much from him and didn’t produce anything. By his contact I mean Captain Pipes Haffajee,” said Naidoo.

On Thursday Naidoo implicated Haffajee in connection with the false sexual assault case brought against Sewram by Sonali Khan. He alleged that Soni had told him that Haffajee was going to check the “victim’s” statement to see if it was “a quality statement” which would “be binding”.

Naidoo yesterday also identified Town Hill policemen sergeants Ricky Naidoo and Nishal Maharaj as having shot Sewram with a paintball gun loaded with “solid projectiles”, for which Soni allegedly paid them R10 000.

Ricky Naidoo also allegedly spraypainted the words “sex pest” and “sex doctor” at Sewram’s surgery and the boundary wall of his house with neon paint for R500, he testified.

He and Soni had sat in the car and “had a good laugh” while Ricky Naidoo did this, he said.

“By now the accused was absolutely ecstatic … he seemed like a small child,” he added.

Naidoo told the court, however, that the ongoing campaign had taken its toll on him, but Soni’s “pride and frustration just wouldn’t let up”.

“It [the smear campaign] was consuming my life,” he told Judge Jacqueline Henriques and assessor Gerhard Barnard.

Naidoo said he had placed himself “strategically” in the Mountain Rise charge office around the time of the paintball incident and saw Sewram enter to report the assault. “He looked totally disorientated and dazed, and had red marks on his face and neck,” he said.

Naidoo testified that before deciding to shoot at Sewram with a paintball gun, Soni had wanted Sewram shot with a proper firearm.

He alleged Soni once handed Ricky Naidoo his personal firearm and asked him to shoot Sewram. Naidoo said he had intervened, taken the firearm and returned it to Soni. “I informed the accused [Soni] that we are f*****g around”. Naidoo said he reminded Soni that everyone was aware of the vendetta between him and Sewram, and told him he would “definitely be arrested” if the doctor was shot without a reason.

Haffajee is a decorated officer

CAPTAIN Pipes Haffajee is a police officer with more than 38 years’ experience who lays claim to numerous high-profile arrests and convictions that made news headlines in Pietermaritzburg.

Some of these include the March 2009 murder of six-year-old Raelin Devnarain, who was bludgeoned to death with a hammer during a robbery; the murder of retired Northdale nurse Maalthie Mownchan (65) in September 2011; the murder of Northdale widow Venotha Ince in April 2012; and the murder of Caroline Rajah, who was bludgeoned to death by her husband Madhan Maharaj, who was arrested in 2012 after almost seven years on the run.

The two men charged for Raelin’s murder and the attempted murder of his mother Pradantha were sentenced to life plus a total of 35 years’ in prison; Mownchan’s two killers were jailed for life plus 15 years; and Ince’s killer was jailed for life plus 15 years.

Madhan Maharaj was sentenced to 18 years in jail.

It was reported by The Witness that Haffajee and his team were awarded a trophy for the best performing detective unit at the Mountain Rise police station awards in December 2011.

In October 2012 Haffajee was added as a co-accused in a fraud case arising from an alleged informer fee scam at Mountain Rise, but the charges were withdrawn by the state in June 2013.

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