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Durban - An Umhlanga businessman who allegedly bribed a Durban prosecutor to make an assault case go away has been arrested for corruption and for defeating the ends of justice.
Allegations made against Mahendran Govender, 34, of Umhlanga Rocks, in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Friday sounded like the plot of a gangster movie, as it is alleged he “bought a docket” from police for R10 000 and attempted to carry out a “drive-by-like shooting” outside the home of the main State witness in the corruption case.
Govender, who owns an Umdloti supermarket and transport company, was granted bail of R5 000 on Friday as magistrate Vanitha Armu ruled that the State was merely speculating he would interfere with witnesses.
His arrest comes after prosecutor Phumzile Msimango was arrested two weeks ago for corruption. The State alleges Msimango demanded R5 000 from Govender to help him “sort out” a case against him.
This is the second charge against Msimango; in a separate case, she is charged with soliciting a R1 000 bribe from an advocate representing a suspect facing assault and fraud charges.
The money was allegedly in exchange for not taking the accused’s fingerprints after his conviction, so he would not have a criminal record.
Prosecutor Yuben Achary, who opposed Govender being released on bail, said according to a section 204 (accomplice) witness, Vinesh Haripersad, a deal was struck between Msimango and Govender.
Haripersad told police that he handed over a portion of the bribe to a court clerk to give to Msimango.
Achary explained that despite paying the bribe, Govender was convicted on the assault charge because he only paid “a portion” of it and he did not listen to Msimango’s instructions.
“The deal was for Msimango not to oppose the defence’s application for an acquittal. However, the magistrate still ruled against the defence. Msimango apparently then told Govender not to testify in the case, but he did and was then convicted.”
Achary said the charge related to defeating the ends of justice was linked to an allegation that Haripersad testified for the defence during the assault trial, but had not been present during the altercation.
“Further charges may be added, as it is alleged that Govender also bought the assault docket from police for R10 000. The investigating officer had to reconstruct it before the trial.”
Govender was also charged with the attempted murder of Haripersad and is currently out on bail of R500 in that case.
Govender’s attorney, Ridwaan Sayed, rubbished the charges against Govender and claimed the State was relying solely on Haripersad’s evidence. “The common thread in all these cases is Haripersad. It is known that Haripersad and Govender were friends but they had a fallout after both men sent messages to each other’s wives, and there were problems over money.”
Sayed claimed that an Isipingo detective, Captain Inderan Govender, had a vendetta against Govender and was using Haripersad to “get at him”.