Ten years after police started investigating fraud and corruption referring to a R55m contract for the lodging of officers throughout the 2010 Fifa World Cup, Durban-based businessman Thoshan Panday will lastly face prosecution.
Regardless of an epic battle which sparked three instances referring to makes an attempt to derail the probe, bribe a senior Hawks colonel and fraudulently acquire frozen funds, the Pietermaritzburg Excessive Court docket on Wednesday confirmed a 2017 resolution by former Nationwide Prosecuting Authority director Shaun Abrahams that Thoshan Panday’s prosecution ought to go forward.
Panday has been linked to former president Jacob Zuma’s son, Edward Zuma, incomes the businessman a popularity for being “untouchable”.
Retired Hawks colonel Johannes van Loggerenberg gave proof on the Zondo Fee earlier in 2020 in regards to the allegations of fraud and corruption.
The preliminary investigation, generally known as CAS 781, was described by Decide Trevor Gorvan as “something however [smooth]”.
Three spin-off instances have been born out of the investigation: One, CAS 386, for interfering with a police investigation and one other, generally known as CAS 466, for making an attempt to bribe the previous provincial head of the Hawks in KwaZulu-Natal, Colonel Johan Booysen, with R1.43-million.
The third, CAS122, was for fraud and was opened after it was alleged that Panday had tried to have funds, ostensibly attributable to him when it comes to the contracts that have been the topic of CAS781, unfrozen and paid.
All 4 instances have been additionally initially dropped after a call to take action by native prosecutors and confirmed by the provincial deputy director of public prosecutions, Moipone Noko.
The instances have been later reviewed by Abrahams who issued selections to prosecute.
The Pietermaritzburg Excessive Court docket was requested to deal solely with a evaluation of the choice by Abrahams to prosecute Panday in CAS781 which associated to corruption and fraud within the lodging contract.
In a timeline of occasions, included in his judgment, Gorvan tracked the lengthy and winding street to Panday’s prosecution.
A cost of R55-million for the lodging of cops throughout the 2010 World Cup was first seen by a brigadier working within the monetary providers division on the SAPS’s KwaZulu-Natal headquarters. He had flagged single agent had been used on a citation and that Goldcoast Buying and selling CC was the beneficiary of the contract.
“It additionally appeared that invoices had been considerably inflated over the precise value of the lodging,” Gorvan wrote.
He added subsequent investigation confirmed invoices for the lodging had been cut up into quantities of lower than R200,000 which might not ordinarily set off the necessity for full procurement procedures to be adopted.
It was additionally alleged that the SAPS’s provincial provide chain supervisor, Colonel Navin Madhoe, acquired funds from Panday.
The investigation that adopted included the issuing of a number of subpoenas that have been subsequently unsuccessfully challenged in courtroom.
In accordance with papers earlier than courtroom, the subpoenas yielded a “trove of statements” supporting allegations of funds made to Madhoe.
Additional search warrants additionally led to the seizure of paperwork that have been analysed by forensic auditors at PwC. The PwC report “supported allegations of fraud and corruption”.
On 12 October 2010, one of many investigating officers was threatened. This was relayed to the police’s Crime Intelligence unit. This led, in flip, to intelligence officers acquiring permission from a decide to intercept Panday’s communications from 15 November 2010 to 29 November 2011.
Gorvan defined that proof obtained throughout this time led to the opening of CAS 466, the try to bribe Booysen, however not one of the proof was pertinent in CAS 781.
The prosecutor who first issued a call to not prosecute on this case in opposition to Panday, Abby Letsholo, and the provincial deputy director of public prosecutions, Moipone Noko, who confirmed this resolution, got here in for some stringent criticism from Gorvan.
Earlier than Letsholo was handed the case, one other prosecutor who had handled the matter had described it as a “easy forensic investigation” that didn’t contain the intercepted conversations.
Letsholo, nonetheless, used the intercepted conversations as a purpose to not prosecute Panday for CAS 781.
Gorvan stated that first, for a call to not prosecute Panday due to the interception, indicated that Letsholo was underneath the “flawed impression” that the intercepted materials was improperly obtained.
Subsequently, Letsholo justified his resolution by saying that the decide who authorised the interception “will need to have been misled.”
Subsequent, Gorvan discovered Letsholo “relied at face worth on the phrase of a suspect… a suspect who, it was alleged, had tried to have fees in opposition to him quashed by unlawful means”.
Panday claimed in papers earlier than courtroom that the police had threatened to derail his trial technique after they overheard him discussing CAS 781 together with his lawyer.
The Nationwide Prosecuting Authority denied this in papers earlier than courtroom. The courtroom discovered that Panday’s statements have been the much less probably of the 2 to be true.
Gorvan added that in his memorandums justifying the choice to not prosecute Panday, Letsholo didn’t take care of the precise proof in CAS 781. Gorvan stated that Noko then supported the “clearly poor memoranda” and confirmed the choice to not prosecute.
Describing the quantity of paperwork generated by the case, Gorvan stated Panday first made written representations on 14 February 2014.
On 25 March 2014, Letsholo wrote a six-page memorandum giving the explanation why Panday shouldn’t be prosecuted. On 10 October 2014 Noko wrote a seven-page memorandum declining to prosecute the case involving Booysen, CAS 466, however in it, she referred to CAS 781.
Clearly angered by the choice to not prosecute in CAS 781, the Impartial Police Investigative Directorate then wrote a 27-page memo to Noko asking for a evaluation of the proof, together with the forensic report.
On 9 October 2015 Letsholo once more declined to prosecute in CAS 781. The choice was confirmed by one other prosecutor in a one-page memo on 28 October 2015.
On 29 October 2015 Noko wrote to Abrahams, additionally confirming her settlement to not prosecute in CAS 781.
On 9 Could 2016, the then deputy director of public prosecutions, Nomgcobo Jiba, wrote to Abrahams saying that she really useful prosecution in each CAS 781 and CAS 466. She described the proof as overwhelming and “prima facie”.
On 2 October 2016 Abrahams requested Panday to make representations. He acquired these a yr in a while 9 October 2017. A month later one other senior prosecutor additionally really useful that Panday be prosecuted for CAS 781.
Abrahams lastly issued his discover that Panday must be prosecuted on 27 November 2017.
He stated their memorandums ignored a 400-page PwC report.
“To say that Panday featured nowhere in CAS 781 beggars perception,” Gorvan stated.
He stated all the fabric positioned earlier than Abrahams when he had determined to evaluation the choice “confirmed up the dearth of rationality of the explanations supplied by Letsholo and Noko for the choice to not prosecute”.
Gorvan stated that “prosecutorial independence was a trademark of the separation of powers… and that courts will seldom intrude”.
Whether or not the proof positioned earlier than Abrahams was enough for a conviction is a matter for the trial courtroom to determine, Gorvan concluded. DM