A top Umhlanga businessman at the centre of a corruption investigation claims he’s so close to KwaZulu-Natal’s police commissioner, Lieutenant General Mmamonnye Ngobeni, he can tease her for having a “big backside”.
Thoshan Panday also claims he has previously told the commissioner to “lose weight”.
Panday paid for Ngobeni’s police officer husband’s birthday party in 2010, which prompted the Hawks to investigate her. At the time, Panday had been charged with defrauding the SA Police Service (SAPS) of more than R10?million by inflating accommodation costs ahead of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
The probe against Ngobeni was canned, and charges against Panday were withdrawn.
Now Panday has lodged a formal complaint with the police against KwaZulu-Natal’s SAPS crime intelligence boss Major General Deena Moodley and three of his operatives.
It’s in this written complaint, which City Press has seen, that Panday alleges he’s close enough to Ngobeni to criticise her weight.
Panday claims Moodley and the operatives tried to force him to turn state witness against Ngobeni in a corruption case against her.
Moodley allegedly did this by playing Panday illegal recordings of his telephone conversations with Ngobeni and other individuals, including his former business partner Edward Zuma, President Jacob Zuma’s son.
Panday claims in the statement that Moodley offered to have KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Johan Booysen drop corruption and bribery charges against Panday in return for helping secure Ngobeni’s conviction.
Panday says Moodley tried to “unlawfully leverage certain concessions from me” as part of a plan to have Ngobeni removed and replaced with Booysen. He also claimed that Moodley referred to Ngobeni as “that black bitch”.
“Various conversations I had with the KwaZulu-Natal provincial commissioner were played for me. In one such conversation, I criticised her for being overweight and referred to her ‘big backside’ and suggested that she should start losing weight,” Panday says in his statement.
“General Moodley laughed and commented that he could not believe I could speak to the provincial commissioner like that.”
He said other recordings included him talking to his lawyer and his co-accused, Colonel Navin Madhoe, about their defence.
Those recordings were the basis of the decision by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to drop the corruption and bribery charges against Panday.
Three impeccable police sources said this week that crime intelligence had been ordered to hand these recordings over to national police commissioner Riah Phiyega’s office, though it’s unclear what will be done with them.
The three crime intelligence operatives – Colonel Brian Padayachee, Colonel Soobramoney Chetty and Warrant Officer Shamalan
Moodley – have been suspended pending an internal investigation.
Attempts to secure comment from Deena Moodley, who was transferred to the Pinetown SAPS cluster and placed on special leave despite winning a labour court action against his suspension, were unsuccessful.
NPA spokesperson Nathi Mncube had not responded to questions from City Press at the time of going to print.
Panday did not respond to several phone calls and a text message from City Press.
National police spokesperson Lieutenant General Solomon Makgale was unable to comment.