Cape Town - Western Cape police head Arno Lamoer allegedly lied in an official letter when he said he did not know about a criminal investigation into a Plattekloof businessman from whom he is accused of accepting bribes.
In the same letter, referred to in Goodwood Magistrate’s Court papers, Lamoer vouched for the businessman’s “good character”.
The businessman, Mohamed Saleem Dawjee, is now alleged to have been the “controlling mind” behind a partnership, involving gifts to police in exchange for special treatment, to which Lamoer and other senior officers are accused of belonging.
A draft indictment sheds light on how Lamoer allegedly abused his power as the most senior police officer in the province.
There are allegations that he:
* Intervened after hours to see that Dawjee got special treatment regarding a criminal complaint and that the case was prioritised over more serious ones.
* Knew that his relationship with Dawjee gave Dawjee influence over lower-ranking police officers.
* Said business with Dawjee was done according to procedure, but then concealed money Dawjee gave him.
On Friday Lamoer handed himself over to police following a two-year investigation into his actions.
He appeared in a dock in the Goodwood Magistrate’s Court with Dawjee, Dawjee’s son Mohamed Zameer and three of his top officers – the Stellenbosch police cluster commander Brigadier Darius van der Ross, provincial head of inspectorate Brigadier Kolindhren Govender and his wife, Bellville station commander Brigadier Sharon Govender.
The group face a total of 109 charges including racketeering, money laundering and corruption, and are alleged to have accepted R1.45 million in unauthorised payments.
The draft indictment said while Lamoer and his co-accused were being investigated, Dawjee had wanted to know the status of the police and Hawks probe involving himself. He approached Lamoer for help.
”(Lamoer) was aware that there was a current (police Hawks) criminal investigation concerning him, and others,” the draft indictment said.
On November 18, 2013, Lamoer wrote and signed an official letter as provincial commissioner and gave it to Dawjee.
The letter said: “This office is not aware of any criminal investigation against Dawjee.”
In it Lamoer also “vouches for (Dawjee’s) good character,” the draft indictment said.
It said Lamoer claimed Dawjee did business with the police “through proper procurement processes”.
However, other sections of the indictment said Lamoer had apparently disguised the source of money he accepted, which totalled R75 524.30.
This had allegedly been used to pay, among other things, clothing accounts and for guesthouse accommodation.
The draft indictment detailed how Lamoer allegedly went out of his way to help Dawjee.
It said on February 15, 2013, Lamoer intervened after hours to ensure that the head of the Milnerton cluster of police stations gave “special attention” to a case involving a burglary at Dawjee’s brother’s home.
The draft indictment said the cluster head later called Dawjee “to assure him that everything was being done to thoroughly investigate and solve the case”.
It said the case received “priority investigation over other serious cases” and Dawjee later offered the Milnerton police cluster head a BMW and said he had got one for Lamoer.
The cluster head refused the car offer and later told a relative of Lamoer, also in the police, to warn Lamoer about what Dawjee was saying.
Months later, in September 2013, Lamoer and the three brigadiers attended Dawjee’s birthday party.
Another section of the indictment said Lamoer, Van der Ross and Sharon Govender had helped Dawjee.
It said after an alleged burglary at Mohamed Zameer Dawjee’s premises on March 12, 2012, an employee of Dawjee jr indicated he wanted the personal assistance of Hansia Hansraj, the Goodwood police station’s head.
Dawjee had then contacted Hansraj, saying Lamoer had instructed her to immediately report to Dawjee’s business premises.
According to the indictment, Dawjee complained about Hansraj to Van der Ross and Sharon Govender.
“(Dawjee) threatened to have (Hansraj) removed as station commissioner of Goodwood,” it said.
Hansraj had at one stage noticed a “pattern of corruption that she was duty bound to report,” involving Dawjee, Lamoer and the three brigadiers.
A complaint from her had spurred the corruption investigation.
The case against Lamoer, the three brigadiers and Dawjee and his son is expected to resume in June.