Who Zille’s spook spied on
SUSPENDED crime intelligence cop Paul Scheepers had illegally spied for, and conducted surveillance on several individuals, lawyers and senior police officers by applying for section 205 subpoenas at the Bellville Magistrate’s Court.
This is according to the police's charge sheet which was presented for the first time in court earlier this week, where he is facing 26 charges of defeating the administration of justice, fraud, contravening the Regulation of Interception of Communications Act (Rica) and contravening the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.
His case was postponed to June 29.
Former DA leader and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille last year admitted that Scheepers had “debugged” the cellphones of her and her cabinet colleagues after they could not get written assurances from the National Intelligence Agencies that they were not subjected to electronic surveillance.
While there is no mention of Zille, or any other DA politicians in the charge sheet, controversial Uruguayan businessman Gaston “Rodrigo” Savoi hired Scheepers in 2009 to provide “electronic surveillance counter-measures”.
At that stage Savoi was under investigation for tax evasion running into several millions of rand, along with charges of fraud and corruption, and money laundering which involved alleged kickbacks to ANC politicians.
Savoi’s company, Intaka Holdings, had been awarded tenders in KZN and the Northern Cape to install water purification tanks at several hospitals at what prosecutors charge were inflated prices.
Police also allege that in September 2010 Scheepers illegally imported an IMSI Grabber into South Africa, an electronic device with the capability to intercept thousands of cellphone communications, including WhatsApp and text messages, within a specified radius.
The Grabber was seemingly bought in conjunction with SBV Services, one of South Africa's largest cash-in-transit companies.
SBV paid R538 844, R164 470 and R50 000 into the account of Scheepers’s company.
National intelligence agencies and the police’s crime intelligence utilise section 205 of the Criminal Procedures Act 51 of 1977, which allows them to apply to a high court judge, regional court magistrate or a magistrate to grant access to cellphone records, telephone records or information about billing and the ownership of cellphones.
A section 205 subpoena also allows the police or intelligence agencies to track a person’s whereabouts using his or her cellphone. Section 205 obliges cellphone companies to hand over this information to law enforcement officials, when ordered by a judge or magistrate.
While Scheepers provided Savoi with debugging software for his cellphone, he sought a court order for the cellphone records of the Uruguayan’s legal counsel at the Bellville Magistrate's Court, claiming that these were linked to various criminal investigations.
Scheepers had also been hired by the family of murdered former Western Province cricketer John Commins to conduct “cellphone triangulation”, in the hopes it would track down his killers. Police claim Scheepers had been given several numbers and went to the Bellville Magistrate’s Court seeking section 205 subpoenas, claiming these cellphone numbers were used in crimes in the Bellville area.
The charge sheet also claims Scheepers spied on the cellphone of a police brigadier based in Milnerton.
An FNB bank manager’s cellphone was also spied upon, with Scheepers claiming in his 205 subpoena application the number had been involved in a case of intimidation, also opened in Bellville.
Murdered Clovelly mother Rosemary Theron also makes an appearance on the charge sheet, with Scheepers having used her name several times when applying for a 205 subpoena to bug cellphones.
Scheepers was arrested in May last year after a search warrant was executed at the premises from where he operated Eagle Eye Solution Technologies.