A high-ranking SAPS colonel has found himself in the dock facing charges of obstructing the course of justice and being an accessory to a crime involving the purchase of a luxury vehicle.
Colonel Clarence Jones – who is attached to the Hawks’ Serious Corruption unit – is facing criminal charges relating to his alleged attempt to conceal thousands of rand that was handed over to him as evidence against fellow officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Dhamashan Maistry.
Maistry – who is also with the Hawks and the branch commander of the Durban Central detectives’ fraud unit – stands accused of trying to interfere with a bank investigation into an allegedly dodgy car finance deal.
The pair were arrested last year and appeared in the Specialised Commercial Crime Court in Durban on Tuesday alongside a third accused, Preventheran Govender, who is the dealer principal of a luxury car dealership.
The case centres around the alleged purchase of a high-end Jaguar XF, at the end of December 2015.
According to the charge sheet the state has alleged that WesBank financed the car for a buyer, Adrian Wayne Munsamy, but a large portion of the funds landed up in Govender’s account.
WesBank forensic investigator Marius van der Merwe was apparently probing the deal when Maistry allegedly contacted him to set up a meeting and offered Van der Merwe R10 000 “for him not to get involved in the investigation” until an insurance claim – lodged in the wake of an “accident” – had been settled.
The State said the matter was reported to Jones and that Van der Merwe handed the R10 000 – along with a recorded conversation between Govender and Maistry – over to him. However, it alleged that Jones tried to hide the money as well as the recording and only when he was discovered did he instruct another officer to open a case and book it all into evidence.
Jones is facing charges of defeating or obstructing the course of justice and being an accessory to or after a crime, while Maistry stands accused of general corruption and defeating or obstructing the course of justice.
Govender has been charged with corruption.
Senior State advocate André Calitz handled the matter yesterday but told the court that a specialist from the National Prosecuting Authority's national office, State Advocate Mbulelo Hermanus, would be taking over from next month.
The court heard that the State had handed the charge sheet and docket to the defence, in the form of “a number of CDs”.
The case was adjourned to early March, for Hermanus to come on record and for a “possible pre-trial conference”.