‘Charge cop who stole my car’

2017-05-21 00:00
Visham Panday

Visham Panday

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Durban businessman and convicted fraudster Visham Panday has gone to court to have three Durban prosecutors and two of their bosses found in breach of office over their failure to prosecute a well-known police officer for allegedly stealing a R1m Mercedes-Benz AMG model from him.

Panday, 38, claims in papers submitted to the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban that he is being victimised because of his criminal history and his familial ties to brother Thoshan, a politically connected and controversial businessman who is also a former business partner of President Jacob Zuma’s son Edward.

Another alleged reason for his victimisation is Thoshan’s running court battles with former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks head General Johan Booysen. A flamboyant Umhlanga businessman, Thoshan made headlines when he was arrested for allegedly defrauding the SA Police Service of more than R10m for accommodation for its officers during the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

Visham, who runs Sibeko Petroleum in Cato Ridge outside Durban, is a convicted fraudster who served nine months of an effective three-year prison sentence for several fraud cases, including planning a hacking operation that saw South African banks robbed of almost R1bn.

He was released when the rest of his sentence was commuted to correctional supervision.

Last year, he wrote a book about the offences he had committed after saying he had decided to abandon his life of crime.

In legal papers submitted last month, Vishan asked for an order against Ntuzuma prosecutors Previnash Naidoo, Ameeta Kistnasamy and Viren Parag, along with Pietermartizburg-based deputy directors of public prosecutions Rita Blumrick and Attie Truter, for allegedly breaching their duties in terms of section 32 1(a) of the National Prosecuting Authority Act by failing to prosecute Captain Myen Marcus Moodly of the Phoenix metro police in eThekwini Municipality.

He also accused the prosecutors of having failed to uphold their oath of office by showing bias in not going ahead with a prosecution.

Visham said he was befriended on Facebook by Moodly’s wife, Shireen, and had gone to their home in Phoenix for drinks. He gave the keys to his 2014 AMG Mercedes-Benz, which belonged to his late wife, to Moodly.

According to Visham, the captain said he wanted to park it in a neighbour’s garage.

However, when Visham was ready to leave, the car was missing, he alleged.

Moodly then undertook to drop it off at his place later, but this did not happen. Visham then asked his attorney to write to Moodly and ask him to return the car.

“Moodly did not return the vehicle. I accordingly laid a charge of theft, alternatively theft by false pretences, at the Phoenix Police Station,” he wrote in the court papers submitted.

"This is not about a car"

A docket was opened and the police investigating the case sent the docket to the court in Ntuzuma, after advising him that they believed they had a winnable case. However, prosecutors who interviewed Visham and his companion, who was with him when the car disappeared, “made much about the fact that I did not lay a criminal charge promptly but only after some time”, he explained.

“I have shown that I initially attempted to get Moodly to return the vehicle without resorting to the police. The fact that he is also a police officer made me believe that he would do the lawful thing,” he wrote in his papers.

Visham said after he had secured a statement from a car dealer, who was offered the car for R160 000, the investigating officer in the case had gone to court to secure a warrant for the arrest of Moodly and two other suspects.

However, Parag had refused to prosecute, arguing that he was advised by risk management not to get involved with any matters concerning “Visham Panday”, he claimed.

Visham also said in papers that his lawyers had complained to Parag’s directors of public prosecutions, Truter and Blumrick, but both failed to apply their minds properly to the evidence police gave them in the docket.

Furthermore, he also considered prosecutors Naidoo and Kistnasamy, both in the same court, guilty of “ignoring all the evidence which implicates the three suspects, and instead, are trying to find any loopholes which may assist the suspects”.

Visham said the five had not upheld their oath “to enforce the laws of the Republic without fear or favour”.

He said they also violated their oath of office and the UN’s Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors, which stated that prosecutors had to “pay attention to all relevant circumstances, irrespective of whether they are to the advantage or disadvantage to the suspect”.

In an interview this week, Visham told City Press he remained convinced that he was being “targeted” because of his past and surname.

“I am paying the price for having the surname Panday ... What do they think – that I stole my own car?” he asked, adding that he had decided to go to court as a matter of principle.

“This is not about a car. This is about my rights being abused because of my surname and who I am,” he added.

KwaZulu-Natal director of public prosecutions Moipone Noko said they would be opposing the matter, which is set down for the High Court in Durban in July.

Read more on:    saps  |  crime

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