The East London Magistrate’s Court has granted bail to a senior Eastern Cape government official and two businessmen arrested for allegedly attempting to bribe two investigating officers working for the NPA’s Investigating Directorate (ID) with R3.5 million.
Eastern Cape chief director of community safety and liaison, Neil Naidoo, and businesspersons Kenny Govender and Matthew Pillay on Thursday were granted bail of R15,000, R50,000 and R15,000, respectively.
The trio faces charges of corruption, theft and defeating the ends of justice.
The NPA had opposed their bail applications, arguing that they had the potential to intimidate or get involved with the tampering of investigations that were ongoing.
Naidoo, Govender and Pillay had been behind bars since their arrest last Saturday by the ID and the Eastern Cape South African Police Service’s (Saps) anti-corruption unit.
They were nabbed for allegedly attempting to bribe investigating officers, Sergeant Suneel Bellochun and Dylan Perumal, earlier this year, with R3.5 million in order to halt an investigation into a national Saps furniture tender valued at over R36 million.
Bellochun was seconded to the ID from Saps and Perumal was employed by the unit as a chief investigator.
Saps furniture tender
The investigation by the ID related to an ongoing contract awarded to KJP trading Pty Ltd – owned by Govender and Pillay – for the supply of furniture to various Saps offices across the country for two years.
It alleged that the tender could be irregular and the furniture supplied was of poor and substandard quality.
Naidoo allegedly initiated talks between the investigators and the two businessmen to “iron out issues” or halt investigations into the tender on 12 March 2022.
During an undercover operation, Pillay and Govender agreed to pay a sum of R3.5 million by 5 April 2022.
“They stand accused of paying R1.8 million over to Naidoo on 14 April 2022, who allegedly took R300,000 for himself and delivered R1.5 million to the undercover police officers. The remaining amount was to be paid at a later date,” said the ID’s spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka in a statement.
The court postponed the case to 29 July 2023 for further investigations.