Whistleblower’s letter led to Badul probe

2012-08-01 00:00

ALLEGATIONS that former Mountain Rise station commander Hariram Badul had abused state property and resources at the police station were made by an anonymous whistleblower, the high court in Pietermaritzburg heard yesterday.

This was the testimony given by retired General Malekolle Rasigatla, who was in charge of the investigation into Badul and his co-accused.

Badul, Suresh Naraindath, Yunus Khan, Bhekuyise Nkabini and Sigamoney Pillay are on trial before Judge Rashid Vahed and two assessors in connection with 128 charges of racketeering, fraud, theft, corruption and money laundering. They have pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Advocate Jimmy Howse, representing Naraindath, suggested to Rasigatla during cross-examination that the investigation was approached on the presumption that the accused were guilty.

He said this was evidenced by the way in which Badul and some 10 policemen were “summarily” transferred from Mountain Rise police station on November 3, 2009, without being given any opportunity to oppose their transfers.

Rasigatla said the reason for the transfers (at the request of Hawks head, Lieutenant-General Anwa Dramat) was to ensure there was no interference with the investigation.

“The allegations were serious and warranted this approach. Now with hindsight we say it was the right thing to do because some of the allegations have been proved correct,” he said.

Rasigatla confirmed that the allegations of abuses at the police station initially came to the fore in a letter written by an anonymous whistleblower.

Information and allegations continued to surface following a 2008 raid on the police station by the then Independent Complaints Directorate into alleged manipulation of crime statistics at the station.

Advocate Christo van Schalkwyk SC, for Badul, asked Rasigatla why the men were arrested on a Friday afternoon (December 4, 2009) despite a national instruction to police at that time to avoid arresting people on Fridays and keeping them in custody over weekends.

Rasigatla agreed there was such an instruction, but said it happened that the search-and-seizure warrants applied for in respect of the men were approved that day and the “team was ready” to make the arrests.

The case is proceeding.

• ingrido@witness.co.za

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