Court hears how businessman helped Cape cops with petrol, flights, cars

Collin Govender. (File, Netwerk24)
Collin Govender. (File, Netwerk24)

Cape Town - Petrol, car rentals, flight tickets and new cars - these were expenses businessman Salim Dawjee allegedly helped three high-ranking Cape Town police officers with, the Western Cape High Court heard on Tuesday.

Captain Wynand Wessels, the State's first witness and commander of the financial investigation unit at Hawks Western Cape, was tasked with tracking their financial affairs between 2011 and 2013.

Using bank statements, slips and other documents, he showed the court a pattern of payments between Dawjee, Darius van der Ross, Sharon Govender and her husband Collin Govender.

The officers, together with Dawjee and former provincial police commissioner Arno Lamoer, pleaded not guilty to 109 charges of corruption, racketeering, and money laundering involving R1.6m.

They denied being involved in any form of criminal enterprise, explaining that there were legitimate and legal reasons for the payments.

'Gratifications'

The officers allegedly received "gratifications" they did not declare in exchange for advancing Dawjee's personal and business interests.

The State alleged that some 43 payments were made to the officers charged alongside Dawjee - around R75 000 to Lamoer, R7 000 to Van der Ross, R192 000 to Collin Govender and R1.36m to his wife.

Van der Ross was a brigadier appointed as the Bellville cluster commander. Wessels found he received R4 000 from Dawjee's Towbars Cape business for a "golf sponsorship" in 2012.

"Since this sponsorship was declared, it will be for the benefit of the individuals," he said.

According to petrol slips, Van der Ross' BMW was topped up with petrol five times in 2013 on the account of Towbars Cape.

The court heard that Van der Ross took out five African Bank loans.

Collin Govender, a brigadier, was appointed commander of the Cape Town central police station, while his brigadier wife Sharon was appointed as station commander Bellville.

Lifestyle audit

Their son and daughter were included as beneficiaries in the State's case.

Wessels showed that Towbars Cape paid for seven car rentals for the Govender family, a few Mango flight tickets, and filled up petrol tanks quite a few times. The family also had a pool maintenance contract paid.

He said Dawjee registered a Renault Clio on July 4, 2013. He transferred the title to the Govender's daughter the next year. The car had a personalised number plate with her name on it.

In his lifestyle audit of Collin Govender, Wessels found a shortfall of R90 125 after deducting expenses from his income.

Sharon Govender's lifestyle audit revealed a shortfall of R109 578.

Wessels said two BMWs were registered under Sharon's name in 2013. Dawjee signed surety and become the co-principal debtor. Money was transferred from her account to his, he said.

He concluded by saying that when he scanned the accused's accounts, there was no indication of loan repayments other than those made for vehicles.

"Did you establish any link why someone in the business of fitting towbars should be paying personal flights, rentals and pool maintenance," prosecutor Billy Downer asked.

Wessels replied that he could not.

Sharon, in her plea, explained that she was not guilty of criminal behaviour or breach of her oath of office.

The pool maintenance contract made legitimate business sense and Dawjee was reimbursed, she said. The BMW sale agreements were lawful, not concealed or undisclosed, and made legitimate business sense between family members.

The trial continues with cross-examination on Wednesday.

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