Ex-Hawks officer grilled on 'failure to follow due process' in Nulane matter

17 February 2023 - 13:58
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Retired former Hawks officer Isaac Bunu is a state witness in the Nulane Investments trial.
Retired former Hawks officer Isaac Bunu is a state witness in the Nulane Investments trial.
Image: Denvor de Wee

A former Hawks officer is being grilled on why it took him two months to depose his statement on the search and seizure operation in the R24.9m Nulane Investments fraud and corruption matter.

Isaac Bunu, a retired captain, is a state witness in the trial under way in the Free State High Court in Bloemfontein.

The six accused are:

  • Iqbal Sharma, Gupta associate; 
  • Peter Thabethe, former head of the Free State department of rural development;
  • Limakatso Moorosi, former head of the Free State department of agriculture;
  • Seipati Dhlamini, former provincial agriculture CFO;
  • Dinesh Patel, Sharma’s brother-in-law and a representative of Nulane; and
  • Ronica Ragavan, Islandsite director.

Kenny Oldwage, representing Dinesh Patel, is cross-examining Bunu on the processes followed to preserve evidence obtained in a search and seizure operation in the offices of the department of agriculture and rural development in Bloemfontein.

According to records before the court, Bunu, who participated in the operation in which documents about the controversial feasibility study contract awarded to Iqbal Sharma's company Nulane Investments were obtained, only deposed a statement on May 26 2020, more than two months after the operation in March.

Oldwage said this was not in line with standard police operations. He accused Bunu, a police captain with 17 years' experience, of failing to follow standing orders in a “high-profile matter”.

He also lambasted Bunu for having failed to make an entry in an investigation diary, known as a SAPS 5, despite having undertaken such an operation.

Oldwage accused Bunu of failing to comply with safety procedures for handling evidence, including making entries in the SAPS 13 property store register at Glen police station in Bloemfontein, where the bag of documents was kept.

The matter continues. 

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