Former top cop could not afford his lifestyle - financial investigator

Former Western Cape police commissioner Arno Lamoer (Caryn Dolley, News24)
Former Western Cape police commissioner Arno Lamoer (Caryn Dolley, News24)

Cape Town - A lifestyle audit of former Western Cape police commissioner Arno Lamoer revealed that he was living beyond his means, a Hawks financial investigator testified on Monday.

Captain Wynand Wessels, commander of the financial investigation unit at the provincial Hawks, was called as the State's first witness in the corruption trial of Lamoer and his co-accused.

Prosecutor Billy Downer asked if Lamoer could afford to pay for all his expenses, which were ultimately "covered" by businessman Salim Dawjee and his two businesses.

"No, my lady. He was R74 400.46 short," said Wessels.

Lamoer and Dawjee, together with three brigadiers - Darius van der Ross, Sharon Govender and her husband Colin Govender - face 109 charges of corruption, racketeering and money laundering involving R1.6m.

They all pleaded not guilty.

Salary shortfall

The State alleges that Dawjee operated a criminal enterprise in which he paid his co-accused to influence them to use their offices to advance his private or business interests.

It alleged that some 43 payments were made to the police officers charged alongside him - around R75 000 to Lamoer, R7 000 to Van Der Ross, R192 000 to Colin Govender and R1.36m to his wife.

On Monday, Wessels detailed the payments to Lamoer. He displayed copies of cheques, bank statements and slips on monitors in court to evidence payments from Dawjee.

In drawing up his report, Wessels compared Lamoer's income and expenses between November 2011 and October 2013.

His income included a monthly salary of R53 591, claims paid by the police, monthly rental deposits and refunds.

When compared with expenses deducted off his accounts, he found there was a shortfall.

Earlier on Monday, Lamoer offered a plea explanation in which he said he and Dawjee had known each for over two decades and were best friends.

He had no hesitation in admitting that he received payments in cash and otherwise from Dawjee, as alleged by the State, but that the circumstances were legal and not sinister.

He accused the State of targeting him in a "witch hunt".

Wessels' testimony will continue on Tuesday.

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