‘She’s an escort’

2014-08-18 00:00

A WOMAN accused of working for a rogue secret agency profiting from the illicit tobacco trade was described as an “expensive escort” by a KwaZulu-Natal cigarette baron yesterday.

But lawyer and alleged double agent Belinda Walter in turn accused Pietermaritzburg businessman Yusaf Kajee of threatening her life and having her assaulted.

The feud forms a murky backdrop to the heavily regulated cigarette industry and a tussle between the globally funded Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa (Tisa) and the Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association (Fita), made up mostly of independent operators.

“I never assaulted her, but a woman whose husband she had an affair with did. She is living in a dream world and is seeking attention,” said Kajee.

In City Press yesterday, Walter was accused by her former lover and SARS investigator Johann van Loggenberg of using her sexual prowess to manipulate key players in the illicit cigarette trade and for being involved in money laundering.

She has also been accused of being part of a rogue State Security Agency (SSA) unit that plotted to discredit state officials, obstruct investigations into organised crime and contraband cigarettes.

Kajee told The Witness yesterday that Walter has “destroyed many lives”.

In the fallout, Kajee says he is backing Van Loggenberg who, ironically, found him to have underpaid his taxes by R7 million.

“I met Walter when we initially set up Fita, but back then she was operating as a double agent, and even had our meeting taped and sent to our competitors.

“She is nothing more than a high-class escort who has had a series of affairs to get what she wants. I always told her I was happily married,” said Kajee.

Kajee owns Amalgamated Tobacco Manufacturing (ATM), of which Edward Zuma, President Jacob Zuma’s son, is a shareholder.

He said Walter was part of a much larger plot with the sole aim of protecting the market share of dominant tobacco players.

“Johann van Loggenberg is no pal of mine. His duty is to bring people like me to book for tax avoidance. But Johann has the country’s best interests at heart. He is focused on doing his job as a SARS official,” said Kajee.

But Walter has denied all the allegations and believes the relationship between Kajee and Van Loggenberg should be probed.

“Kajee threatened my life and had me assaulted. I am not saying anything more,” said Walter.

Walter would not deny or confirm whether she was a spy.

In a statement released to the press, she denied all the claims made by Van Loggenberg and said she would be instituting defamation action.

Van Loggenberg was not available for comment.

• jonathan.erasmus@witness.co.za

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