Lifestyle audits of former top cop and co-accused should have been done by independent company‚ defence lawyer says
An independent auditing company should have conducted the lifestyle audits of the accused in the corruption trial involving former provincial police commissioner Arno Lamoer.
That is what defence lawyer Johnny Nortje‚ told state witness Wynand Wessels during his cross examination in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.
Wessels had conducted lifestyle audits of Lamoer‚ three of his former brigadiers and of businessman Salim Dawjee – who is believed to have paid the former high ranking police officials over R1.6-million over two years‚ in exchange for “special treatment”.
All five are now facing 109 charges of money laundering‚ racketeering and corruption.
Nortje said that despite heading up the financial forensic unit at the provincial Hawks‚ Wessels did not have the “expertise” to conduct the audit‚ and should not have been considered because he was himself a member of the SA Police Service.
“The matter required independent forensic auditors because you excluded certain transactions in his audit‚” Nortje told Wessels.
He said Wessels’ evaluations had set the wheels in motion for the corruption trial.
In his investigation Wessels found that all of the accused were living beyond their means‚ despite receiving regular payments in various forms from Dawjee.
Earlier the court heard how Dawjee likely used cash and cheque deposits to conceal payments made to Lamoer.
During cross-examination from Lamoer’s lawyer Grant Smith‚ Wessels told the court that cash and cheque deposits of amounts from R2‚000 to R15‚000 from Dawjee to Lamoer were “likely done to conceal the transactions”.
Wessels said that electronic payments would have made it easier to identify transactions between Dawjee and Lamoer.
Payments included cash and cheque deposits‚ as well as car hire‚ holidays and clothing accounts – where in some cases the beneficiaries were Lamoer’s immediate family.
Wessels said that in corruption cases “transactions with [the accused’s] immediate family are [investigated in] the same [manner] as transactions with [the accused]”.
Dawjee’s companies‚ Towbars Cape and Towbars King‚ also faced charges of “over quoting” and “over charging” the police for equipment supplied for SAPS vehicles. But Wessels said that he found no evidence of Lamoer and his brigadiers benefiting financially from those transactions.
The trial continues.