Panday’s prison dramatics

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IOL News NT_panday0 April15 2012 INLSA Thoshan Panday after his court hearing. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo.

Local businessman Thoshan Panday, in prison for more than 12 days, is still trying to secure his freedom.

His legal team did not submit documents in time for a bail application. So the case was postponed and he has to spend another weekend behind bars.

He believes his latest arrest for fraud and corruption results from KZN Hawks head Major-General Johan Booysen’s view of him as “enemy number one”.

Booysen believed Panday wanted to “bring him down” after the media published “incriminating” photographs of Hawks members that led to a national investigation and the unit’s closure, said Panday.

Booysen shrugged off Panday’s allegations about the photographs, saying they were not even related to the Organised Crime Unit, which ultimately fell under his command, but to the Durban Dog Unit.

Prison warders, hospital security guards and a nurse said when Panday spent the night in hospital he begged to use their cellphones and refused to let warders use his private bathroom and toilet.

Panday has used his bail application to showcase his political connections and influence.

The flamboyant businessman, who boasts a fleet of cars worth millions, claims he was approached by a senior officer – the same officer it is alleged he tried to bribe – to help him quash a complaint by President Jacob Zuma’s high-flying son, Duduzane.

Duduzane Zuma claimed he was searched illegally by Captain Kevin Stephen’s men after he was accused of rowdy public behaviour at a pub in Florida Road in Morningside, Durban.

Panday, in his affidavit to support his bail application this week, claims the man he is alleged to have attempted to bribe, Stephen, “wanted me to use my influence to have Zuma drop the charge”.

He said, however, he did not approach Duduzane, as he was reluctant to do so.

“I said that I would see what I could do,” said Panday.

Panday, a father of four, is alleged to have attempted to bribe Stephen with “one bar” (R1m) to influence decisions or to abuse his position of authority.

Panday, who faces charges of fraud and corruption, and is currently in Westville Prison, also believes his enemies are using state resources to exact revenge on him for the closure of the Hawks Organised Crime Unit at Cato Manor and the impending suspensions of its members, as well as two attempts to suspend KZN Hawks head Major General Johan Booysen, who has since had to seek overturning orders from the Labour Court.

This followed the publication of images of members of the unit that allegedly portrayed them as being involved in the murders of suspects.

Two weeks ago, Panday and Captain Ashwin Narainpershad, who worked in supply chain management, were charged with three counts of conspiracy to commit fraud, incitement to commit fraud and corruption.

They are accused of conspiring to defraud the State and the SAPS during December 2011 and March 2012 of between R15 million and R21m, related to false invoices submitted for accommodation that had been procured for the 2010 World Cup.

It is believed the submission of the invoices was an attempt by Panday to allegedly recover R17m from his R60m World Cup accommodation procurement deal, that is currently being investigated.

Narainpershad is on bail of R20 000k.

On Friday, Panday, snazzily dressed in a designer suit, appeared briefly in the Durban Regional Court and was again remanded to the Westville prison hospital wing pending a bail application tomorrow.

Last week he fell ill at the postponement of his bail bid and eventually spent a night in hospital for anxiety, after he was cleared of heart pains he had claimed to suffer from.

Panday had to spend his second weekend in prison as his legal team failed to submit its affidavit on Wednesday.

Instead his attorneys, Jimmy Howse and Tashya Giyapersad, submitted their 60-page affidavit, with more than 100 pages of annexures all related to his previous court matters, late on Thursday afternoon, not giving the State enough time to formulate a response by Friday.

Panday is also under investigation for allegedly inflating accommodation procured for the World Cup and is currently out on R100 000 bail for allegedly attempting to bribe Booysen with R1.37m in exchange for a report to be back-dated.

His co-accused, Colonel Navin Madhoe, who also worked in supply chain management, is also out on bail.

Panday this week denied in his affidavit that he had approached Stephen, claiming instead that it was Stephen who had approached him in an attempt for him “to use my influence to have Duduzane Zuma drop a charge”.

Panday alleged Stephen was facing an internal investigation after a complaint laid by Zuma regarding an incident that allegedly occurred on December 23 last year in Florida Road.

It is alleged that Zuma complained that Stephen and his unit members had acted inappropriately by searching him and his friends and failed to identify himself.

Stephen’s unit members were on duty and had allegedly approached Zuma and his group after they had received complaints of rowdy behaviour. These details are in an annexure to Panday’s bail documents.

Panday, in his affidavit, alleges that he has had a consistently “difficult relationship with all the officers investigating him” and has registered several complaints against them.

Turning to the undercover investigation against him by Stephen, Panday said it was suspicious as it followed the national investigation against the unit and Booysen.

“If the recordings are genuine, they will include disclosures to me by Stephen that Booysen and the investigators in this case wanted him to implicate me in the earlier case and were particularly upset about the newspaper report and subsequent investigation,” said Panday.

He said he needed to be released on bail as he was no flight risk, that he was the sole breadwinner and he had considerable assets, including a bond-free property worth R15m, R4m worth of cars and R200 000 worth of investments.

He said he had no overseas assets apart from a business banking account in Congo, which is run by his Congolese business partner, but that account had very little money in it. - Sunday Tribune


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