KZN Hawks boss goes on offensive

2015-04-17 17:08
(File: Hawks)

(File: Hawks)

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Durban - KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Johan Booysen delivered the latest salvo in the pitched battle to keep his job, in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban on Friday. 

Booysen has been charged, along with 28 other police officers, with running a so-called "death squad". 

He had racketeering charges set aside after a high court application, and was also exonerated by an advocate who chaired a disciplinary inquiry. 

He maintains that provincial police commissioner Mmamonnye Ngobeni had a corrupt relationship with businessman Thoshan Panday, who was alleged to have scored millions in police contracts and was accused of paying for a birthday party for her husband.

Now, in the latest chapter of the drawn-out legal saga, Booysen’s legal team filed an answering affidavit in response to a strike-out application brought by Ngobeni in March.

Ngobeni’s application sought to have what she described as “scandalous, vexatious, hearsay and irrelevant” allegations that Booysen made in a high court application to interdict national commissioner Riah Phiyega from dismissing him, struck from the court record.

In his founding affidavit, Booysen said that an independent forensic audit, conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, had shown a “possible corrupt relationship” between Ngobeni and Panday, and that she had tried to stop the investigation into Panday and other cops shortly before the businessman paid for a birthday party for her husband Lucas.

Ngobeni was never prosecuted and has since been awarded a second five-year contract, while corruption charges were provisionally withdrawn against Panday.

Booysen alleges that the pursuit of Panday and Ngobeni led to him being side-lined, with an agenda to have him pushed out of the police force.

Ngobeni refuted his claims in her application, providing a receipt that she insisted shows that she had paid Panday for organising the birthday party. 

Conspiracy theory

Ngobeni denied stopping the fraud investigation, claiming that Booysen fabricated this “to bolster his conspiracy theory”.

“The fact is that he and his division continued to investigate unabated for five years… but when the results of this prolonged investigation was forwarded to the NPA, they declined to prosecute anyone,"Ngobeni said.

“He is attempting to obtain undue mileage on these defunct investigations by disingenuously referring to them as though they are currently active when he knows they are not.”

Ngobeni denied implementing a “strategy” to run him out of his job.

On Friday, Booysen opposed her application and dealt with each of the items she had raised.

“The affidavit [from Ngobeni] is very emotional and full of vitriol that is inappropriate in court proceedings. Apart from mentioning this I do not intend to deal further with it or respond in kind. I have attempted to extract the factual or legal questions that are raised and deal only with those.” 

In papers before the court, Booysen cited an affidavit by Brigadier Kemp, the police’s provincial head of financial services in backing up the claim that Ngobeni had tried to halt the probe into Panday.

“On May 5, 2010, she [Ngobeni] instructed him [Kemp] to stop the investigation and engaged with him again on 8 May on matters pertaining to it. She formally instructed me to stop the investigation on 10 May 2010,” he wrote.

Transferred to IPID

Supporting his assertion that the cases were still ongoing and not defunct, Booysen attached printouts from the police’s Crime Administration System (CAS) for criminal investigations into Panday, Ngobeni and Supply Chain Management officer Navin Madhoe and Aswin Narainpersad that detailed that they had been transferred to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID).

He attached an affidavit from IPID investigator Baatseba Motlhale, dated January, which said that they [IPID] had approached Ngobeni after receiving a complaint from DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard about her relationship with Panday. 

“The provincial commissioner showed anger and was crying at the time when she was commenting [on] the allegations from Ms Kohler-Barnard. She also asked us as why we allow ourselves to be used by the DA… I indicated to her that we would request the dockets for perusal and communicate to her regarding our way forward.”

In March, The Witness reported that the IPID had recommended that Ngobeni, Madhoe and Narainpersad be suspended and charged departmentally for allegedly receiving gifts from Panday.

All three remain at work, pending a decision from Phiyega.

With regards to the forensic audit, Booysen’s papers included an affidavit from PriceWaterhouseCooper’s director Trevor White.

His affidavit contains excerpts from the summary of findings from the forensic report which reads: “I can conclude that that Panday has paid the cost of Lieutenant General Ngobeni’s husband’s birthday party…”

“I can conclude that this gift or gratification to Ngobeni was done shortly before the deployments for the Soccer World Cup and the final order [order No 333657] that was issued to Gold Coast Trading [a company that Panday is a director of] in the amount of R26 320 250 dated June 10 2010”.

Read more on:    ipid  |  hawks  |  riah phiyega  |  durban

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