More charges for former hotshot lawyer
Pretoria - He was known as Pretoria’s celebrity lawyer who, just a few years ago, was so wealthy he drove a Ferrari, and named Joost van der Westhuizen, James Dalton and Steve Hofmeyr among his clients.
Now Peet Viljoen is on trial for fraud, has lost his licence to practise as an attorney and has been sequestrated. His alleged desperate attempts to have charges against him dropped have led to new charges being laid against him for allegedly harassing senior police officers, private investigators, journalists and politicians.
Cases of harassment and crimen injuria have been opened against Viljoen by Chad Thomas, a forensic investigator from IRS Investigations, for alleging that he and numerous police officers in the Gauteng Hawks are corrupt.
His allegations have included attacks on the provincial head of the Hawks, Major-General Shadrack Sibiya.
Thomas said “nobody” had escaped Viljoen’s wrath and he believes the former attorney is making up allegations in a desperate attempt to escape charges of fraud and racketeering against him in a case before the Pretoria Commercial Crime Court.
Viljoen is being charged for alleged involvement in the fraudulent transfer of R114 million worth of City of Joburg land.
The land was sold to various companies. Two properties were financed by property mogul Zunaid Moti, who Viljoen claims in the commercial crime court case has set him up.
But Viljoen says he is innocent and that charges against him are being trumped up in an attempt to keep him quiet. He said he had proof that police officers are corrupt and showed no interest in charging those behind the fraudulent state land sales.
In an attempt to clear his name, Viljoen has approached senior police officers, journalists and forensic investigators, saying he has proof that he was set up by Moti.
“Viljoen’s constant unsubstantiated allegations of corruption that he has made against the police, the Hawks, the NPA, the media, the ANC, the DA and myself are without substance,” said Thomas.
“These allegations are made by a clearly desperate man (who) has lost everything and does not relish spending the next 15 years in prison.”
In an affidavit, Thomas said Viljoen approached him to help him with his land case two years ago. Thomas said he assisted organised-crime officers in a parallel investigation into the illegal sale of council and state land that has culminated in several new cases being opened.
“Viljoen began to pressure various SAPS members involved in the investigation to have the case against him dropped,” said Thomas. Thomas said Viljoen was enraged and accused the officers of being corrupt when this didn’t happen.
“Viljoen then accused Major-General Sibiya of being corrupt. He made an affidavit to this effect,” Thomas said.
In the affidavit, Viljoen accused Sibiya of stopping an investigation into the sale of state land. He also described meeting the head of the Hawks in his “personal night-club” in Pretoria.
Viljoen said Sibiya told him that the kitchen equipment in the club was “sponsored”. He then claimed he got a call from forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan asking about the club. But O’Sullivan submitted an affidavit denying Viljoen’s claims.
He, like Thomas, said Viljoen had sent him endless SMSes with allegations against police officers that Viljoen could never substantiate. Thomas said the allegations against Sibiya owning a nightclub were untrue. He said Sibiya owned a property that he had permission from his employer to rent out.
Sibiya would not comment.
The investigators were not the only targets of Viljoen’s allegations.
DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard said she was also targeted by Viljoen. She said he started SMSing her “nonstop” and would sometimes SMS her smiley faces “for no reason”.
But Viljoen said he had accused everyone with nothing more than the truth.
“I don’t care who charges me with anything,” he said.
Police spokesman Brigadier Neville Malila said the docket would be referred to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions after their investigation had been completed.