'Not nice for me to testify against her'
Portia Kgantsi, the senior Scorpions advocate facing charges of corruption, had "no reason" to visit the two fraud suspects detained at Sandton police station, her boss told the Johannesburg high court yesterday.
Advocate Paul Louw said he was not aware that Kgantsi was visiting John Afolobi and Dijbril Mohamedou, the men arrested by his team for their alleged involvement in a syndicate that defrauded state departments of thousands of rands.
Louw said the syndicate used various stolen identities to commit the crimes. Investigators had found three different passports bearing three different names at Afolobi's premises.
Kgantsi worked under his command when investigations against Afolobi and Mohamedou started.
Louw said she was part of the team that arrested Afolobi.
Her second involvement in the case was when she had to stand in for advocate Pravina Rughoomandan at a meeting with the suspects' lawyers in August last year, said Louw. Rughoomandan had been assigned prosecutor in the fraud case.
Kgantsi, 39, of Faerie Glen in Pretoria, is alleged to have frequently visited the two men at Sandton police station and befriended them.
She allegedly solicited a R40000 bribe from them in exchange for their freedom.
She has denied this and has pleaded not guilty to charges of corruption, fraud, attempted theft, extortion and lying about a previous conviction.
Louw said Kgantsi was not supposed to visit the men and that it was common practice for prosecutors not to have direct contact with awaiting-trial prisoners.
"I expected her to know that," he said.
Louw described Kgantsi as a kind and streetwise person with a strong personality. He was "sad" to learn that she was being investigated for corruption. "I enjoyed working with her. It's not nice for me to stand here and testify against her."
The trial continues.