Phahlane off the hook, after corruption case withdrawn

2018-06-07 14:06
Former acting national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane. (File)

Former acting national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane. (File)

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Former acting national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane is no longer an accused in a fraud, money laundering and corruption case after the matter was withdrawn against him in the Specialised Commercial Crime Court in Pretoria on Thursday.

Read: Corruption charges withdrawn against former top cop Khomotso Phahlane

It is alleged that Phahlane and his wife Beauty Phahlane were given cars by their co-accused, car dealer Durand Snyman, which were paid for by a police contractor who allegedly received billions in forensic contracts.

Prosecutor advocate Dries van Rensburg had to withdraw the matter against the Phahlanes and Snyman after the court dismissed an application for another postponement.

At the court appearance meant for the arrangement of a trial date, Van Rensburg asked for a three-month postponement to complete investigations, the docket and to finalise the charge sheet.

Van Rensburg told the court that investigations had expanded and more people could be added to the charge sheet.

He said three forensic reports on tender irregularities at the South African Police Service, the bidding processes in a number of contracts between service providers and the police, and the cash flow of certain contracts were in the process of being completed.

Postponement 'not in the interests of justice'

"The contents of these reports may play a huge role in this prosecution," said Van Rensburg.

Furthermore, he told the court that there was a High Court application pending relating to the search and seizure of documents belonging to Snyman, which may also hold evidence needed for prosecution.

Attorney Piet Du Plessis, acting on behalf of the Phahlanes, opposed the postponement, asking that the matter be struck from the roll.

"It's clear that there are substantial investigations outstanding in the matter," said Du Plessis, adding that the investigations would take some time to complete.

He said the postponement was not in the interests of justice as his clients had the right to a speedy trial.

Du Plessis said full disclosure had still not been made and that the defence was only in possession of a draft charge sheet.

No delays from defence

Advocate Piet van Wyk, SC, for Snyman, argued that it was not in the interests of justice for his client to keep incurring financial costs for coming to court just for investigations to remain outstanding.

He said there had been no delays from the side of the defence and that the previous postponement was for the arrangement for a trial date, not for further investigations.

"We are going backwards now, back to investigations," said Van Wyk.

He also told the court that several witnesses and possible suspects were still being interviewed and if more suspects were added to the charge sheet, it would take the matter back to bail stage.

Magistrate Nicola Setshoege dismissed the State's application for a postponement.

"The application for postponement would be prejudicial for the accused," said Setshoege.

R5bn in contracts for FDA 

Setshoege also said that the pronouncement that additional suspects may be arrested indicated that the process would be even more drawn out.

"They should be afforded a speedy trial in the matter."

News24 previously reported that the allegations of corruption against the former acting national police commissioner surfaced more than a year ago, as questions arose about how he could afford a multimillion-rand home.

Khomotso Phahlane's house (Supplied to News24)

The allegations escalated recently as the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) included police supplier Keith Keating and his company, Forensic Data Analysts (FDA), to its investigation.

In December, a joint operation between the Hawks and IPID saw a raid on seven properties connected to Keating and Phahlane.

READ MORE: IPID inside estate to raid acting top cop's home

It was revealed last year that FDA had allegedly received R5bn in SAPS contracts since 2010.

IPID believes Keating had made payments for vehicles for Phahlane, his wife and sister, facilitated through Snyman.

Read more on:    saps  |  khomotso phahlane  |  pretoria  |  courts

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