We must get to trial says judge in top cop hearing

14 February 2017 - 17:41 By Philani Nombembe

Former Western Cape police commissioner Arno Lamoer no longer wears blue‚ but he could be feeling blue for quite a while.

General Arno Lamoer. File photo.
General Arno Lamoer. File photo.
Image: Times Media

Lamoer‚ alongside brigadiers Darius van der Ross‚ Kolindren and Logambal Govender‚ and businessman Salim Dawjee‚ appeared in the High Court in Cape Town on Tuesday. The Govenders are husband and wife.

They are all facing corruption‚ racketeering and money laundering charges‚ and could spend up to 15 years jail if convicted.

They were arrested in 2015 following a two-year investigation. The police officers allegedly had a corrupt relationship with Dawjee who allegedly doled out money to curry favours.

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With the hearing‚ the court wanted to assess whether the state and defence were ready for trial‚ and prosecutor

Billy Downer told the court the state and Dawjee’s co-accused were ready.

The only thing holding it up was the sale of Dawjee’s house in order to pay his lawyer‚ William Booth. But Judge Robert Henie was not impressed.

"I am not going to wait for his house to be sold. He cannot hold the court to ransom‚" said Henie. "Mr Booth can withdraw‚ he can get legal aid or someone else. The matter has been running for some time. We must get to trial."

Booth said Dawjee’s house could not be sold because the Asset Forfeiture Unit had seized it and put it under a curator.

Dawjee’s Plattekloof home as well as Lamoer’s home in Parow‚ a Polo Vivo‚ BMW X5 and bank accounts have also been seized. Van der Ross’s BMW 320i‚ two bank accounts and his "interest" in "annuities and gratuities pursuant to retirement or termination of employment with SAPS" were also attached. So were the Govenders’ car and bank accounts.

However‚ in a report handed into court‚ curator Andre van Heerden said he had been instructed by the prosecution not to proceed with the restraint.

"With reference to the schedule of known assets‚ I have been instructed by [the prosecution] not to obtain formal appraisals for the immovable properties forming the subject matter of these proceedings‚ in order to avoid incurring unnecessary costs‚" the report reads.

"In addition‚ I have been instructed to leave the motor vehicles in the possession of the various defendants and respondents‚ in order to avoid incurring unnecessary upliftment and storage costs."

Van Heerden explained that the bank accounts were in arrears‚ while Van der Ross and Logambal's pensions have been "placed under restraint".

Henie postponed the matter to March 6 to allow Dawjee to sort out his finances. The provisional date for the trial is April 18.

According to the Hawks‚ Lamoer allegedly "received money in his bank account‚ has his clothing accounts together with a certain holiday accommodation paid by Dawjee". He also allegedly had his private vehicle repaired by Dawjee in "exchange for illegal favours".

Van der Ross allegedly received "gratifications which included having his private vehicle filled with petrol in exchange for favours". The Govenders allegedly received "unauthorised gratifications amounting to R1.2-million".

 - TMG Digital/The Times