Cape Town -
The manner in which one of the directors of Specialised Protection Services (SPS) was arrested was unnecessarily dramatic, the Cape Town Regional Court heard.
This was put to Hawks investigator, Captain Kenneth Speed, who took the stand in support of the State’s case against Sea Point businessman Mark Lifman and his associate Andrè Naude.
The men had allegedly provided doorman or bouncer services to more than 150 nightclubs and entertainment venues across Cape Town without being registered to do so.
Last week, Lifman and Naude pleaded not guilty to just over 300 counts of fraud and contravening the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority Act for allegedly operating a security services company without being registered.
“It was wholly unnecessary to arrest (Naude) and for the police to conduct the search and seizure at SPS. You simply did it for dramatic effect,” Rudi Crause, for Naude, told Speed during cross-examination on Friday.
But Speed disagreed, saying it was better to go to the offices of SPS with a warrant of arrest.
Crause said that just a few days before the police’s large-scale seizure operation, a security industry investigator visited SPS’s offices in Sea Point and Naude co-operated fully with him, giving him the necessary information.
Documentation including SPS contracts, tax invoices, cash slips, wage registers and management and employee records were confiscated.
The court heard that 248 doormen or bouncers were employed by the company, but Crause questioned the document listing the names of people on the “SPS employee list”.
During cross-examination, he asked Speed whether he had contacted any of the people on the list and if he had obtained statements from the men confirming their employment.
Speed said he had not and that, on the advice of his commander and the advocate prosecuting the case, they agreed to speak to the owners of the clubs who made use of the bouncers.
The owners said in affidavits that they were under the impression that SPS was registered to provide the security service it was hired for.
The main count of fraud Naude and Lifman face relates to rendering security services by Altius Trading 470 which traded as SPS.
The State alleges the services were either provided on the basis of a written contract or verbal agreement with 156 entertainment venues or nightclubs around the peninsula.
The State will try to prove that the venues were misled that SPS was legally entitled to supply security services.
The men were arrested in February 2012 and brought to court. They were released on R1 000 bail each.
Cross-examination continues on February 24.