Johannesburg - Former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Johan Booysen has told the Zondo commission that criminal charges against a possibly corrupt police officer and a controversial Durban businessman were withdrawn despite overwhelming evidence.
Booysen returned to the commission on Thursday for his second day of testimony.
He told the inquiry that shortly after advocate Moipone Noko was appointed the head of the NPA in KZN, she took the decision to withdraw charges against Colonel Navin Madhoe and businessman Thoshan Panday.
Panday and Madhoe had been arrested as part of a police sting operation after Madhoe had tried to bribe Booysen into tampering with a police docket.
The docket was related to a 2010 investigation into Panday and his group of companies for possible corruption in the KZN SAPS procurement of accommodation for SAPS officials for the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
Panday had alleged booked the accommodation through his company and had inflated the prices and benefited with a profit of R60 million. Booysen said SAPS had also used Panday’s company for procuring various other items.
Panday and Madhoe had been arrested for bribery and corruption.
Booysen said a few weeks after Noko took over she dropped the charges against the two. He said Noko refused to provide an explanation on her decision and also refused to return the docket to the Hawks.
“Soon after this, the new DPP was appointed, Advocate Noko a month or after her appointment she withdrew the charges against Panday and Madhoe.
Chair, the investigating officer enquired why the charges had been dropped and she would not respond. The second thing the investigating officer told him was that advocate Noko did not want to return the docket for a period of time. She later issued a media statement stating that she had withdrawn the charges in the interest of justice,” he said.
Booysen said there was overwhelming evidence, which included fingerprints and eyewitness statements, to prosecute the two.
“I am not a prosecutor and I have worked with them and I think I am in a position to say when there is a prima-facie case against a someone. In this instance, every conceivable evidence was in that docket. The evidence was overwhelming and despite that, the charges were withdrawn,” Booysen said.
This was not the first attempt at possible interference with the charges against Madhoe. Booysen detailed how before the charges were withdrawn, the prosecutor in the case had been asked by suspended NPA official advocate Lawrence Mrwebi to explain what other evidence they had against Madhoe besides a “scrap of paper”.
He said the prosecutor wrote a detailed brief explaining how strong the case against Madhoe was and that he planned to indite him at the High Court.
Booysen said even with such a strong brief supporting the case against Madhoe, the charges were withdrawn by Noko.
Booysen also told the commission that Noko was also instrumental in dropping the charges against KZN ANC leader Mike Mabuyakhulu and a number of co-accused. The case involved fraud, racketeering and corruption charges related to a water purification tender for KwaZulu-Natal’s health department.
He said the acting director of public prosecutions in KZN at the time, advocate Sphiwe Mlotshwa had faced pressure to drop the case.
And two weeks after Noko took over she dropped the charges in 2012.
The inquiry resumes on May 2.IOL