Cape Town - A provisional restraint order has been granted against former Western Cape police commissioner Arno Lamoer and his co-accused in their corruption case, it emerged on Tuesday.
The Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) brought the application under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act in November 2016.
Advocate Billy Downer told the Western Cape High Court that they were ready to start the trial in March and that witnesses had been subpoenaed.
However, some parties indicated the order had set them back. The State’s attitude was that the order made provision for them to apply for funds for living and legal expenses.
Lamoer and three brigadiers - Darius van der Ross, Sharon Govender and her husband Colin Govender - together with businessman Salim Dawjee, face 109 charges of corruption, racketeering, and money laundering involving R1.6m. All of them are out on bail.
Cash and expensive gifts
The high-ranking officers allegedly received cash and expensive gifts from Dawjee in exchange for special treatment.
Lamoer was appointed to the post in November 2010 and retired in November 2015. He had been in the service for 25 years.
The restraint order was limited to R179 912 for Dawjee, Towbars Cape CC and Towbars King CC; R75 524 for Lamoer; and R7 324 for Van der Ross.
The order against the Govenders, including their interests in annuities and gratuities from their pension fund, was limited to R1.37m.
On February 21, the parties will have a chance to argue why the provisional order should not be confirmed pending the outcome of the trial.
Lawyer William Booth, for Dawjee, said the provisional order came as a complete shock and had a “catastrophic impact” on the sale of his client’s property.
Judge Robert Henney advised the lawyers to apply to the curator to have funds released for legal representation. They were asked to draw up a timetable.
“I am not going to let the process of asset forfeiture delay this trial,” he said.
Mxolisi Getye, of the AFU, said the curator was concerned whether there was enough money in the relevant bank accounts.
“The curator said that all the bank accounts he had been able to trace have debit balances, which are negative balances,” he said.
“If the parties are talking about cash sitting in bank accounts then we might have a problem.”
Henney replied: “If they say their money is locked up in there, they must show you where they are.”
The court heard that the SA Police Service had decided to proceed with disciplinary hearings against the brigadiers last week.
Henney said police should be informed that the hearings must take place after hours, on the weekend, or during court recess, to ensure there were no delays in the court process.
The case was postponed to February 14 for another pre-trial hearing.