Lamoer, former top cops must have known actions were corrupt - judge

2018-05-10 19:05
Former Western Cape police commissioner Arno Lamoer arrives at the High Court. (File, Caryn Dolley, News24)

Former Western Cape police commissioner Arno Lamoer arrives at the High Court. (File, Caryn Dolley, News24)

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A Western Cape High Court judge on Thursday said she found it hard to believe that retired provincial police commissioner Arno Lamoer and two former police officials would not have known what corruption is.

"It beggars belief that none of them thought that receiving financial assistance from accused 1 [businessman Saleem Dawjee], and then according him favours or preferential treatment in their capacity as police officers, constituted corruption," Allie said during their sentencing.

Lamoer and former brigadiers Darius van der Ross and Collin Govender had accumulated around 80 years of service while in the police, Judge Rosheni Allie pointed out.

READ: Former top cop Lamoer, Dawjee get effective 6 years in jail for corruption

Van der Ross was the cluster commander for Bellville, while Govender was station commissioner at Parow police station.

Allie said they would surely have been aware of high-profile corruption cases, where explanations of an alleged corruptor being a friend were not accepted, as in the Jackie Selebi case.

Lamoer, Van der Ross and Govender were on Thursday sentenced, along with Dawjee, on the basis that they had received gratifications in exchange for interventions or preferential treatment at some stage.

The group initially faced more than 100 charges of corruption, racketeering and money laundering.

Lamoer and Govender had told their probation officers that they did not believe they were committing corruption.

'Incomprehensible'

Rather, they said they had believed they were accepting financial help from Dawjee as a longstanding friend and relative, respectively.

Dawjee received an effective six years in jail for corruption, fraud and defeating the ends of justice.

Lamoer also received an effective six years in jail. He was sentenced to eight years imprisonment, of which two years were suspended for five years, on condition that he was not convicted of corruption within that time.

Van der Ross and Govender got an effective two and four years in jail respectively.

ALSO READ: AFU applies for confiscation order against Dawjee, Lamoer

Dawjee's business Towbars Cape was fined R60 000, of which R40 000 was suspended for five years.

Allie said individuals accepting gratifications could be attributed to greed, living beyond one's means, or as a result of dealing with a catastrophic event.

In this instance, however, the accused did not take the court into their confidence to explain what had driven their behaviour.

She said it was "incomprehensible" that they would place their hard-earned careers, reputation, standing and liberty in jeopardy.

'His own fiefdom'

According to a psychiatrist, Dawjee expected preferential treatment from all police members because he had given generously to the SAPS and some of its members.

"All too often corruptors or potential corruptors labour under the illusion that anything and anyone has a price and influence can be bought," said Allie.

She believed that Dawjee used SAPS "as his own fiefdom".

"In doing so, he squandered and pre-occupied valuable and already stretched SAPS resources in petty squabbles, power-mongering meetings, and to do his bidding generally."

The court took into account that all were first offenders and had children who were financially and/or emotionally dependent on them.

They had also pleaded guilty and showed varying degrees of remorse.

However, Allie said correctional supervision would not send out a sufficiently strong signal of deterrence and sanction, nor help the accused recognise and accept responsibility for the severity of their offences.

The men are expected to bring applications for leave to appeal, as well as for bail to be extended in the interim, at a later stage.

Read more on:    saleem dawjee  |  arno lamoer  |  cape town  |  crime

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