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It’s a case of “what a tangled web we weave” for suave millionaire businessman, Thoshan Panday, under investigation for corruption, and KZN’s top cop Major-General Johan Booysen who appeared in the Durban Magistrate’s Court yesterday, along with 29 members of the Cato Manor Organised Crime Unit.
In June 18 members of the unit were arrested, followed by an additional 12 members on Wednesday, including Booysen, the provincial Hawks boss.
The 30 members of the disbanded alleged “death squad” unit faced 116 charges – including murder, racketeering, housebreaking, intent to do grievous bodily harm and illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
Panday, who, along with co-accused Colonel Navin Madhoe, was arrested in September after he and Madhoe allegedly tried to pay a R2m bribe to Booysen to quash investigations into a R60m police accommodation tender scam during the 2010 World Cup.
The two were also being investigated as part of a syndicate involved in racketeering, corruption and fraud within the police, amounting to an estimated R60m and Panday is also subject of a police enquiry in respect of an insurance fraud allegation.
Panday was reportedly rejoicing at the top cop’s arrest calling it “karma”, describing Booysen as playing “a huge role in getting him arrested”.
But yesterday evening, when asked whether he thought the charges against him would be dropped, Panday said he would not comment on the matter and backtracked saying that he had “nothing against” Booysen and that “I don’t know the guy”.
Booysen and the 29 members of the unit filed into a packed courtroom yesterday to face the 88-page indictment, which states “the unlawful activities of the enterprise began to manifest themselves from May 2008 to September 2011 through a pattern of racketeering, which includes killing members of the kwaMaphumulo Taxi Association, ordinary civilians and/or suspects and criminal gangs suspected in ATM bombings”.
The indictment describes the unit as “an organised crime enterprise that enriched themselves through their killings”.
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate’s Moses Dlamini said it had a “very, very strong case.”