DURBAN 26-09-2011 Toshan Panday. after apiaring in coart. Picture by: S'bonelo Ngcobo

Durban - A senior KwaZulu-Natal Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT) investigator who allegedly accepted two rugby suite tickets to the Currie Cup final in Durban last year from wealthy uMhlanga businessman Thoshan Panday, is being probed by the Hawks.

Allegations that the police colonel also tried to extort R5 million from Panday in exchange for quashing bribery and corruption charges against him are also being investigated.

The officer has since been transferred to the SAPS Commercial Crimes Unit, and the matter has been handed to colleagues for investigation.

A police source, who did not want to be named, said the events had unfolded in October, when a Durban attorney allegedly contacted Panday to buy the tickets for the policeman and his girlfriend.

“The attorney was a friend of the policeman and also known to Panday. He asked Panday to buy the rugby suite tickets, which cost R2 000 each.”

In exchange, Panday had allegedly been told the policeman would “help sort out” his bribery and corruption charges, the source said.

“Panday was told that the purchasing of the rugby tickets was just a start. Further negotiations regarding money deals were also discussed.”

The Hawks in Pretoria had been tipped off about the allegedly corrupt policeman and an undercover operation had been set up, the source said.

The policeman’s identity number and that of his girlfriend had been SMSed to Panday by the attorney to allow the couple access to the rugby suite, the source added.

“The Hawks bought the two rugby tickets and Panday handed them over to the attorney. There is a video recording, photographs and television footage of the policeman and his girlfriend sitting in seats reserved in Panday’s name, in an executive suite at the rugby.”

The source said the two seats had had white name tags in Panday’s name stuck on them.

“A few days after the rugby, the attorney attempted to negotiate a money deal with Panday to have the charges against him dropped.”

Several discussions had been held and a R5m deal had allegedly been offered by the attorney late last year, the source claimed.

Arrangements had allegedly been made for the handover of the cash. “But days before the money exchange could take place, the policeman was tipped off about the Hawks investigation. There was no word from the attorney after that.”

Panday confirmed he had opened a case against the policeman.

However, another source claimed that the policeman had been unaware that Panday had bought the tickets.

“The attorney is his longtime friend and he thought the tickets were from him.”

Hawks spokesman, Captain Paul Ramaloko, said a case of corruption had been opened by Panday against the police colonel.

“This investigation is receiving urgent attention,” he said.

“The case was opened in Pretoria. It is being looked at by the national office of the Hawks Integrity Unit.”

Ramaloko said they viewed the allegations in a very serious light.

“This involves a member of the Anti-Corruption Task Team. I cannot say how far we are with the investigation. But I will say that we are not afraid to take down our own if they are found to be guilty of such offences.”

In September 2011, Panday and two senior police officials - Colonel Navin Madhoe and Captain Aswin Narainpersad – were arrested and charged in connection with an alleged R60m police accommodation tender scam during the 2010 World Cup.

At the time, their homes were raided by the Hawks and documents and computers were seized.

Madhoe and Panday were also charged with attempting to bribe KZN Hawks head, Major-General Johan Booysen, with R1.3m to pre-date an investigation report regarding the R60m tender scam case.

Their trial is expected to start in the Durban Magistrate’s Court next month. - Daily News