Former top cop Arno Lamoer's Truworths account allegedly covered by businessman

Arno Lamoer (File, Gallo Images)
Arno Lamoer (File, Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Truworths and Markham account payments, private petrol top-ups and a Mango plane ticket were allegedly part of the largesse a Cape Town businessman dispensed to former police commissioner Arno Lamoer and four colleagues, the Western Cape High Court heard on Thursday.

This information was touched on sporadically during a trial-within-a-trial as the investigating officer in the case, Colonel Abdul Enus, was asked to go through the State's as yet untested evidence, item by item.

The purpose of the exercise was for him to indicate whether information brought to him was gathered within the confines of laws regarding surveillance and information gathering. The purpose was not to decide whether the information was true or not, and this will be established later when witnesses are brought in.

Every time Enus, commander of an investigative unit in the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), the Hawks, went into any detail on a charge or how he received evidence, Advocate William King SC, the lawyer of tow truck company owner Salim Dawjee, leapt up to object, stopping Enus mid-sentence.

The accused are Lamoer, businessman Dawjee, and brigadiers Darius van der Ross, Sharon Govender and her husband Colin Govender. They face 109 charges of corruption, racketeering and money laundering involving R1.6m.

Dawjee allegedly paid them for favours, and all have pleaded not guilty.

Evidence 'hearsay'

The defence is alleging that some of the information collected through secret surveillance was obtained without the legally required permission in terms of the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication Act.

In terms of this act, "dubbed Act 70" during the proceedings, surveillance is allowed if approved, and there is no requirement to inform a person whose conversations are being monitored. However, if the monitoring is not done within the confines of the law, the evidence gathered might be declared inadmissible and it might lessen the number of charges an accused faces. 

In spite of the objections, which included that much of the evidence was hearsay from intelligence officials and other police officers, State prosecutor Billy Downer pressed on.

He methodically led Enus through a list of financial transactions obtained from bank statements, and information gathered by investigators doing footwork to filling stations, for example, to corroborate information.

None of the allegations have been tested for veracity in the trial yet, but among the claims was that Lamoer's Truworths and Markham accounts were allegedly taken care of by Dawjee.

Dawjee or one of his companies also allegedly picked up the fuel tab for the Govenders when they filled up at Sonnendal Motors in Plattekloof, a suburb north of Cape Town CBD.

Reporter's letter part of evidence

"We are definitely saying all of this is derived from unlawful interception," objected King.

The Rica and the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA) are an important part in building a case.

To obtain cellphone records, for example, a CPA section 205 application to a magistrate is required. If granted, the records are studied and numbers of interest are isolated. Then an application for permission to conduct surveillance on certain numbers is applied for in terms of Rica. 

"Act 70" in this case, which gave the go-ahead for surveillance, was approved on July 16, 2013.

King at one point said the monitoring that was conducted may even have violated attorney-client privilege.

Enus said that some of the information gathered was a letter delivered to him by a reporter, who was not named, via a clerk. Downer said the reporter would not be called to testify.

The trial-within-a-trial continues.

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