Suspended Pretoria Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair in court on corruption charges

Suspended Pretoria Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair appeared in court on corruption charges. Picture: File

Suspended Pretoria Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair appeared in court on corruption charges. Picture: File

Published Oct 11, 2022


Pretoria - Suspended Pretoria Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair briefly appeared before the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in the city yesterday on charges of corruption.

It is alleged in the charge sheet that in September 2016, Nair, being a judicial officer at the time, accepted an offer from African Global Operations/Global Technology Systems (formerly known as Bosasa) to have an electric fence, an alarm system, perimeter beams and a CCTV system installed at his home.

It is alleged that he was granted the upgrades for his influence to act in a dishonest or improper manner.

The matter was postponed to December 7 for the defence to make representations. Nair is out on warning, the Investigating Directorate’s national spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka has said.

Nair, who was suspended as a magistrate in 2020, earlier denied benefiting from Bosasa-sponsored security upgrades to his home.

He earlier appeared before the Zondo commission after he was allegedly implicated in evidence provided in January 2019.

Former Bosasa IT specialist Richard le Roux claimed at the time that he had been instructed by former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi to oversee security installations at Nair’s Pretoria home.

Le Roux said the installations cost R250 000 and included an electric fence, camera system and alarm beams.

Nair at the time faced questions regarding security installations. He admitted to receiving security upgrades but disputed Bosasa and Le Roux’s involvement and the cost of the project. He claimed that he had an oral agreement with a man identified only as Mr Bejoo to install a basic camera system and repair the existing electric fence, alarm system and beams for a maximum agreed price of R50 000.

Nair was previously also appointed as an acting judge in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria.

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola meanwhile said he was aware of the appearance of Nair in court yesterday. “These are criminal charges which will be decided by a court of law,” he said.

However, in addition to the criminal charges, misconduct proceedings, as provided for in the Magistrates Act and the Code of Judicial Conduct for Magistrates, have been instituted against Nair. Lamola explained that there were two stages to misconduct proceedings: firstly, an internal investigation conducted by the Magistrates Commission, and thereafter a parliamentary procedure.

Lamola, on the advice of the Magistrates Commission, provisionally suspended Nair in February 2020.

Thereafter, a report was submitted to Parliament to pass a resolution as to whether or not the provisional suspension can be confirmed, as is required in terms of the Magistrates Act.

“Parliament confirmed the suspension of Mr Nair and the misconduct proceedings instituted by the Magistrates Commission against him are in progress,” said Lamola’s spokesperson, Chrispin Phiri.

According to him, the Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, John Jeffery, has on numerous occasions expressed his concerns to the Magistrates Commission regarding delays in misconduct proceedings against magistrates.

Regarding the criminal charges upon which Nair appeared in court yesterday, Lamola said: “All persons are equal before the law, whether they are lay persons or officers of the court. The law must now take its course, as it would in every criminal case. Justice must not only be done, but manifestly be seen to be done.”

Pretoria News