Former KZN Hawks boss Major-General (Ret) Johan Booysen on Wednesday told the commission of inquiry into state capture that following a sting operation in 2011 which resulted in the arrest of Durban-based businessman Thoshan Panday’s co-conspirator, Colonel Navin Madhoe, who was with the South African Police Service (SAPS) provincial supply chain management at headquarters, Panday contacted former president Jacob Zuma’s nephew Deebo Mzobe.
Booysen told the commission that Panday and Mzobe are registered partners in two closed corporations.
Booysen was investigating a R60 million contract to supply temporary accommodation for police members in KwaZulu-Natal during the 2010 World Cup.
He had set up a sting operation in which Madhoe gave him close to R1.5 million in a suitcase for him to back off from the investigation, backdate evidence, and then throw out the case.
Madhoe was arrested on September 8, 2011, following the sting operation, while Panday was arrested at a later date in the second half of the same year and was charged with corruption, Booysen told the commission.
Following Madhoe’s arrest, Panday frantically made a number of calls which the police picked up through interceptions, Booysen said.
One of the calls Panday made was to Mzobe, which Booysen described as the start of his “problems”.
Subsequent to Booysen’s investigation into Panday, the “Cato Manor death squad” narrative by the Sunday Times began, effectively ending his career.
Last year, the Sunday Times issued an apology for the discredited reports, which included the “Cato Manor death squad narrative”, and undertook to return the awards and prize money it received for articles it ran about that, the Sars “rogue unit” and Zimbabwean extraditions.
Booysen read the transcript of the phone call between Panday and Mzobe, in which the former spoke about the bribe money – which was initially meant to be R2 million or “two-bar” as Madhoe had referred to it earlier – and said Booysen thought of himself as “a mafia”.
In the transcript Booysen read into the record, Panday told Mzobe that “maybe we need to clip him a bit”, referring to Booysen.
During the conversation, Panday mentioned to Mzobe that “our lady” was in Pretoria at the time. Booysen said he later came to the conclusion that this referred to former KwaZulu-Natal commissioner Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni, who was in the capital city at the time of the sting operation.
The commission has adjourned and Booysen’s testimony will continue on Thursday.