State capture inquiry: Key witness to testify from secret location
Politics / 26 September 2019, 3:47pm / Zintle Mahlati
Johannesburg - Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, who chairs the state capture inquiry, has ruled that no photos may be revealed of a key witness expected to give evidence at the inquiry about corruption allegations at crime intelligence.
Zondo made the ruling on Wednesday.
The witness is Colonel Dhanajaya Naidoo who worked at crime intelligence for several years and has been under witness protection for years.
Naidoo ended up in witness protection after he blew the whistle on the widespread allegations of corruption at crime intelligence which he was also a part of.
He detailed his evidence to Hawks official Colonel Kobus Roelofse who began extensive investigations into the looting of the crime intelligence secret service fund based on information provided by Naidoo and his investigations.
Naidoo faced numerous threats for blowing the whistle and Roelofse worked on protecting Naidoo by placing him and his family under witness protection.
Zondo said when Naidoo appears at the inquiry it will be different from other appearances because he has been living under witness protection and his location could not be disclosed for his protection.
Naidoo will testify over audio in an undisclosed location. No pictures will be displayed.
“To ensure that when Lt Colonel Naidoo, who is a protected person, gives evidence to the commission the location to which he has been relocated and the new identity will not be disclosed. He will not be present in the room at any time. A separate location will be provided. He will give his evidence from the protected witness location and no camera will be permitted in the protected location. An audio link from the location will be provided so that his evidence can be heard in the evidence room when he presents it,” Zondo ordered.
“The chairperson and all evidence leaders will be located in the hearing room when Naidoo gives evidence. The commission’s safety security advisor will have the responsibility of ensuring the protection of the location. Media may broadcast and members of the public may be present in the hearing room. No video or other visual of Col Naidoo may be taken. No document or other evidence revealing the location in terms of the act shall be tendered or placed on the record,” he said.
When Roelofse appeared at the inquiry last week, he detailed the evidence of the looting of crime intelligence’s slush fund.
The account is used mainly for the provision of funds for CI agents to purchase assets and conduct investigations related to their work. It is not meant for private purposes.
He detailed how while he was investigating former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli for his involvement in the murder and kidnapping which took place in Vosloorus he was approached by several CI officials who wanted to report the abuse of the secret service account.
It was the evidence from Naidoo, who admitted to his alleged fraud in the illegal transactions, which assisted him in his investigation.
Roelofse decided to investigate the matter and found that while they searching Mdluli’s house in 2011 two vehicles were found in his house. He said the vehicles were purchased using CI secret service funds.
He pointed to Colonel Hein Barnard as the one who purchased the vehicles using a company called “company x”. The name of the company as been withheld by the commission.
Criminal charges of fraud and corruption were brought against Barnard and Mdluli. The charges were later withdrawn by NPA official Lawrence Mrwebi.
In another instance, secret service funds were used to fund the travel of Mdluli and for his wife and children to fly from Cape Town to Johannesburg. Roelofse said Naidoo had admitted to this. He said this was unusual and that secret service funds cannot be used for private travel and if it was official business then it would have to be done through SAPS’ open account.
Former crime intelligence official Solly Lazarus, who was in charge of finances of the crime intelligence secret service account, had signed off on most of these transactions.