Johannesburg - The head of the Hawks in Gauteng has filed responding papers in the Johannesburg High Court denying that he interfered or took bribes in a criminal matter.
He has also accused the applicant’s attorney, Saleem Ebrahim, of police corruption.
Earlier this week, The Star reported that Africa Cash n Carry (ACC) chief executive Edrees Ahmed Hathurani had brought a case against Major-General Shadrack Sibiya, General Anwa Dramat and the minister of police.
Hathurani said in court papers he had opened cases against a previous director of ACC and employees for fraud and theft.
He alleged Sibiya had interfered in the investigations and received a bribe of R2 million to make the cases disappear.
But in responding papers filed at the court this week, Sibiya said the application brought before the court was based on hearsay allegations.
Sibiya said the accused in the ACC matter, Cassim Aysen, along with other men, visited his office in August last year to lodge a complaint against the conduct of some police officers.
Aysen told him that he was a director of ACC, but he had left ACC to start a new company, and this had resulted in a civil dispute.
“In an attempt to frustrate and place undue pressure on him, the remaining directors of ACC used different individuals to open criminal cases against him.
“Members of the SA Police Service were used to arrest him in short succession for reward,” Sibiya’s statement said. “Mr Aysen alleged that the attorney of ACC, Mr Saleem Ebrahim, bribed the police officials to unjustifiably effect arrest on him.”
Sibiya said a Captain Sina was allegedly one of the officials paid, and he actively took part in the execution of an order against Aysen, which is normally effected by a sheriff and not a police officer.
During one of Aysen’s arrests, attempts were made to force him to relinquish his shares in ACC in exchange for his freedom.
At another arrest, Aysen said Sina frustrated his bail application by disappearing with his docket, according to Sibiya’s court papers.
“Aysen believed that there were other cases in the process of being registered with the SAPS in order to ensure that every time he is released on one, there is another arrest in the waiting,” the papers said.
“In view of the seriousness of the allegations made and the fact that Aysen has a right to liberty, and the police have an obligation to protect every person, it would have been irresponsible not to attend to the complaint,” Sibiya said in his affidavit.
Sibiya denied directing that dockets pertaining to the applicant be brought to him or that he possessed or saw the dockets.
The responding papers said Sina was arrested by members of the Anti-Corruption Unit for corruption and intimidation unrelated to this case, and that he was represented by Ebrahim, who is also Hathurani’s attorney.
Sibiya said Ebrahim was being investigated, and he referred to a video posted on YouTube, with the title “Crooked Johannesburg attorney in action”, in which Ebrahim appears to be talking about police officers who are paid.
The video was taken in 2007. In the transcript provided, Ebrahim allegedly says “All those cops, every single one (inaudible)… they come here every week to collect money here”.
The Gauteng Hawks head said the true intention of the application was to taint the image of the Hawks.
Ebrahim said the allegations made against him in the responding papers were “entirely without merit and baseless”. Speaking about the YouTube video, Ebrahim said the issues were fully canvassed as far back as 2007 and were found to be devoid of truth.
“The affidavit contains various untruths that are deliberately designed to avoid the central issues. We will be filing an appropriate reply,” Ebrahim said.
Aysen’s attorney, Yusuf Ismail, said they were considering Hathurani’s application and might intervene in the proceedings.
Ismail said there were “substantial misrepresentations, distortions of facts and blatant lies of and concerning our client.” He said his client denied paying any bribes as alleged and denied any form of impropriety.