Convicted fraudster takes aim at allegedly corrupt KZN prosecutors

17 September 2017 - 10:51 By Jeff Wicks
Image: Thinkstock

A band of Durban prosecutors have been accused of tipping the scales of justice in exchange for diamonds‚ flashy cars and shoe boxes filled with cash.

Convicted Durban fraudster Visham Panday claims that he and others had bought the favour of four senior National Prosecuting Authority officials to secure access to confidential dockets‚ follow-through on criminal prosecution and abandoning cases when it suited him.

The explosive claims are contained in a nine-page affidavit given to NPA internal investigators as well as the Hawks.

The investigation into the prosecutors comes after Panday approached the Durban High Court last month to force NPA boss Shaun Abrahams to prosecute a police officer who allegedly stole his R1-million car more than a year ago. He claimed that police said there was a good chance of conviction and that despite repeated pleas to local NPA officials and even after escalating the request to prosecute‚ to head office‚ this wasn't done.

Shortly after the high court action‚ Panday was notified of an internal investigation.

The NPA's Luvuyo Mfaku confirmed they were aware of the allegations and that the Integrity Management Unit was investigating. Billy Gloster‚ an internal investigator from the unit‚ said that the Panday matter was the subject of an internal investigation and could not comment.

The revelations are understood to have been elevated as high as the Minister of Justice‚ with officials in his office making enquiries on the progress of Panday’s theft case.

Panday‚ who was jailed for fraud in 2012 and since released on correctional supervision‚ said his first foray into the prosecutorial service was in 2011 when he befriended a public prosecutor based in Verulam while his brother Thoshan was under investigation for a separate multi-million rand fraud scheme.

“We developed a close relationship. He advised me that he would be of great assistance to me and kept good on his promise‚” Panday said.

“[The prosecutor] gave me access to dockets which contained information which was helpful to my brother and I. In return he demanded money

“Over a period of six months in 2011 I gave [the prosecutor] about R2.5-million in cash. This was done in about six tranches. I would go to his office at the court. The money was placed in plastic bags or shoeboxes.”

The cash‚ Panday said‚ was also funnelled to the prosecutor’s superior‚ who was called “the chief”.

“I told him I was involved in the petroleum‚ diamond and property sectors. He told me he wanted diamonds and one for ‘the chief’ as well. I purchased three diamonds from a business associate and paid R3-million which I then gave to him.”

On other occasions the fraudster said he helped his prosecutor buddy buy a sports car‚ and even paid him R150‚000 to get a bodyguard and detailed how another businessman dropped R400‚000 to have a murder prosecution abandoned.

Panday’s generosity dried up in 2016 when‚ he claims‚ a prosecutor asked for R150‚000 in a “nice brown bag” to pursue the prosecution of someone who stole his car.

“As my interview finished I was leaving and [the prosecutor] asked for a nice brown bag with about R150‚000. I ignored him and didn’t pay them any money. They subsequently declined to prosecute the case despite all the evidence implicating the perpetrators.

“I admit that I have done wrong in the past. I did not take any action against the suspects previously because I thought it would be best to let sleeping dogs lie‚ figuratively speaking. What has prompted me to now take action is the failure to prosecute my case and let criminals walk free. There are obviously many others who have suffered the same fate‚” he wrote.