Moti off hook, but NPA may step in

04 November 2012 - 02:03

Relieved to be off the hook after the state this week withdrew charges of conspiracy to commit murder against him, flamboyant businessman Zunaid Moti gave forensic consultant Paul O'Sullivan the middle finger .

Moti accused O'Sullivan of employing dodgy methods to incriminate him, including contaminating evidence.

The charge of conspiracy to commit murder against Moti and his co-accused, including business partner Rafik Mohamed, was struck from the roll in the Brits Magistrate's Court as the state prosecutor was not ready to proceed.

Chairman of the Abalengani group of companies, Moti was accused of being behind an attempted hit on Brits businessman Naeem Cassim.

Cassim, 32, survived a drive-by shooting on November 5 last year near Broederstroom in North West, when a group of people in three cars allegedly pushed his Mercedes-Benz off the road before firing several shots at his car.

In an interview at his home in Sandhurst, Johannesburg, Moti, 38, said he was convinced the charges would not be reinstated. He said the state had given an undertaking that such a decision would have to be decided upon by the director of public prosecutions first.

Moti slammed O'Sullivan, well known for his investigations into underworld characters, for his involvement in the matter. The Irish-born forensic consultant was hired by Cassim to investigate the attempts on his life.

O'Sullivan is widely credited for his role in bringing down former national police commissioner Jackie Selebi .

''Paul had some of the alleged evidence," said Moti. "He contaminated the case, having all this evidence and the director of public prosecutions not having it. This man is walking around with stuff [that's supposed to be] in the docket."

But O'Sullivan said in response: "This was a temporary withdrawal and I am convinced the charges will be reinstated when the National Prosecuting Authority [NPA] is ready to proceed."

Moti's heavyweight legal team comprised three of the country's top senior advocates in Max Hodes, Laurence Hodes and Kemp J Kemp.

They latched onto an earlier statement by the state that it was ready to proceed and convinced the magistrate to strike the matter from the roll.

Numerous attempts to get clarity on the situation from the NPA were unsuccessful.

Moti has, in turn, laid charges of intimidation against O'Sullivan, citing incidents where he allegedly harassed him and his staff. He said O'Sullivan drove past his home and businesses taking pictures and sent threatening SMSes.

He told the Sunday Times that he would now instruct his lawyers to pursue a ''seven-figure" civil claim against O'Sullivan for defamation of character, and may take action against the state for wrongful prosecution.

He said: ''My message to Paul is go home, lock your door, jump underneath your bed [because] the system is coming for you."