Allegations of corruption and interference in criminal investigations have been levelled against the head of the Hawks in Gauteng Major-General Shadrack Sibiya.
In a case brought before the Johannesburg High Court by Africa Cash ’n Carry chief executive Edrees Ahmed Hathurani, Sibiya – provincial head of the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation – is accused of receiving bribes amounting to R2 million to make several cases of fraud and theft Hathurani had opened against Africa Cash ’n Carry director Cassim Aysen, three employees and a supplier disappear.
Hathurani wants the court to interdict Sibiya and General Anwa Dramat, national head of the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation, from “interviewing, consulting or investigating any criminal matters pertaining to the applicant”, and to order them to hand over all criminal dockets pertaining to the applicant to the minister of police.
He also wants an independent investigative unit to be assigned to the case.
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and National Director of Public Prosecutions Mxolisi Nxasana are cited as respondents.
Hathurani said in an affidavit he had instituted several cases of fraud and theft against Aysen, three employees and a supplier.
His affidavit and annexures, including a forensic audit, indicate the business lost R168m due to the alleged fraud and theft.
The papers also contained affidavits from an employee who confirmed the criminal activity and admitted to being involved in the fraud allegations.
Hathurani said the cases he had opened followed the normal course of arrest, detention, investigation and prosecution, “until the intervention of the second respondent (Sibiya)”.
The papers say Sibiya convened a meeting in August last year between a Brigadier Magson, from the Specialised Commercial Crime Unit; Brigadier Ronnie Rajin, from the Johannesburg Central police station; and a Brigadier De Bruin, the cluster commander for Joburg.
“The second respondent (Sibiya) emphatically stated that the conduct of Aysen did not constitute a criminal offence/s and that it was a civil matter that did not warrant the attention of a criminal court.”
The affidavit goes on to describe visits by SAPS and Hawks members to his business premises that he said were intimidatory.
There were also two affidavits alleging Sibiya had been paid to make the Africa Cash ’n Carry cases go away. One affidavit said the alleged bribe was R2m.
Hathurani said Sibiya went to Joburg Central police station along with Aysen and collected all the dockets related to Africa Cash ’n Carry.
“I pause to mention that, as a lay person, I find it suspicious and unnerving that a high-ranking general would accompany an accused person to a police station and attempt to convince other members of the SAPS that a case is civil in nature and should not be prosecuted,” the affidavit said.
Sibiya did not want to comment and referred The Star to Hawks spokesman Paul Ramaloko, who said the State had responded to all the allegations in their responding papers which would be filed in court this week.
Ramaloko indicated the State would refute all the allegations made against them.
The case was brought before Judge Fayeeza Kathree-Setiloane, who said this was “a very important and serious matter”. The matter was, however, not fully heard last week because State advocate Naomi Manaka argued she had not had enough time to file responding papers.
Arguing on behalf of the applicant, senior counsel Max Hodes agreed to remove the matter from the court until next week, but asked that the judge make an interim protection order because the applicant’s attorney (Saleem Ebrahim) experienced an incident the night before during which the lives of himself and his family had been threatened.
Hodes argued that the order should ban Hawks officers from communicating with the accused or Ebrahim.