A bribery and corruption syndicate is playing out at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court which buys cases and used a sinister network between magistrates and lawyers to siphon money from accused persons.
This is according to a source within the court.
The Star has seen seven dockets which the source says are the middle of a deal between the lawyers and prosecutors.
The alleged chain works as follows: Before an accused is charged, members of the SAPS would call a prosecutor to tell them that they are about to pounce on an eminent or rich individual. The police then charge the person, who will be surrendered to the courts the next day.
Unbeknownst to the accused, the prosecutor will put up a fight for the accused to remain in custody. The accused’s lawyer will then intervene, giving the impression that the case against the accused is very strong but requires more funds to “mediate” the case.
After the accused pays more than the expected amount to his lawyer, the prosecutor will suddenly be lenient and the accused will get off scot-free.
The accused pays between R50 000 and R200 000, depending on their wealth status. According to the source, top business persons are arrested by police and then told to pay exorbitant amounts to make the “case go away”. The money will be split between the prosecutor and the accused’s lawyer.
According to the source, the police in consultation with lawyers target people after a case is opened against them.
“Last week, a top Investec bank executive was charged for fraud. After secret meetings between the lawyer and the prosecutor, he paid R600 000 to his lawyer and the prosecutor withdrew the case. I can tell you that the evidence against him was conclusive, but R600 000 bought his freedom.
“Sometimes the person is innocent. They just keep the case on the roll for him to pay up. This is what happens at Palm Ridge,” the source said.
Businessman Zaakir Mia was also charged by the Norwood police station on an allegation of a property investment fraud. Although the complainant Naushad Hassim’s case was previously thrown out of the High Court, the matter landed up at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court. A property deal involving Mia and Hassim went sour when Mia couldn’t raise investors for the property, leading Hassim to open a case against him.
“If you look at the case you can see that something is sinister. Why would Mia, who lives in Linksfield, be charged in Norwood and the case is sent to the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court? This is naturally a civil case but because a case was opened, it’s now playing itself out in a magistrate’s court,” the source added.
According to the source, popular Amapiano sensation DJ Maphorisa was made to pay R300 000 in a similar manner.
The Norwood police station refused to answer questions on the alleged syndicate between the police, lawyers and prosecutors. “We don’t know anything. Please ask the national police commissioner. We are not mandated to answer questions,” the police said.
The National Prosecuting Authority has not responded to questions.
Hassim said: “I don’t have any objection to take part in your investigation. I just don’t want to jeopardise my case. It took me years to get this case to be prosecuted. I will have to take advice from my legal team first.”
Mia added: “A lot of things are bizarre. Very bizarre. But the matter is sub judice so I cannot divulge at this point.”