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Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal - The State witness who is testifying against former commander Hariram Badul of the Mountain Rise police station and his alleged accomplices is still a member of the SAPS and draws a salary, despite not having worked as policeman since 2009.
Stanley Naidoo admitted under cross-examination on Thursday that his wife was compensated for leaving her business interests and was still paid R4 700 a month, while the State also paid for the cost of relocating the couple’s children to other schools.
Naidoo is in the witness protection programme after saying that he feared for his life and those of his family.
former captain Suresh Naraindath, Yunus Khan, a former police superintendent, Patrick Nkabini, a constable, and local businessman Sigamoney Pillay are facing 98 charges, ranging from fraud and racketeering to theft and corruption.
Naidoo worked in the supply chain management department at the station, under Naraindath, when Badul was appointed commander in January 2007.
Naidoo has accused Badul of being the mastermind behind a grand scheme in which the former top cop benefited from fraudulently requisitioning supplies for the station for his own personal use.
Naidoo himself was the person who forged Badul’s signature on hundreds of fraudulent requisition forms.
Under cross-examination by Badul’s advocate Christo Van Schalkwyk in the Pietermaritzburg High Court, Naidoo said that he had benefited from his relationship with Badul.
“As long as I did what he wanted, I was taken care of.”
Naidoo admitted that his family had been paid to relocate from Pietermaritzburg.
He said he had not faced disciplinary action for any of the crimes he committed.
Naidoo said that when he told investigators of the fraudulent enterprise at Mountain Rise police station, he had not contemplated turning State witness.
“I did not know what that was,” he said, adding that it was not suggested to him that he should confess to his role in the enterprise.
He said he was surprised that he had not been charged. Naidoo said that before he came clean with the police, he had revealed his wrong-doing to his wife and pastor.
“My pastor told me to expose Badul and all the policemen at Mountain Rise, but I told him it was not easy. My life would be in big danger.
“All I could do was pray for them to be exposed or pray for them to be removed from the department.”
Naidoo said that resignation had not been not an option for him because he needed his salary to support his family.
Asked by Van Schalkwyk why he did not ask for a transfer out of Mountain Rise, Naidoo said that Badul was a powerful and well-connected man.
“He would have made my life a misery anywhere I went. I know he has contacts in every station,” Naidoo said.
Van Schalkwyk put it to Naidoo that he had “bared his soul” to the police because he wanted to walk away from the saga without serving any jail time or having any criminal or departmental record, enabling him to continue his work as a policeman without suffering any losses.
Asked why he had not reported the criminal enterprise to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, Naidoo said he could not risk going up against Badul, who “was no ordinary policeman”.
“He was a man of power and authority. I was a small inspector next to him. There were many senior police officers who were afraid of him. I was just a mere inspector.”
Court proceedings had to be adjourned until Friday morning, after Naidoo told the court he could not continue testifying because he was ill.
He said he had diarrhoea and was feeling too uncomfortable to continue yesterday for the duration of the afternoon session. - Daily News