Prosecutors, state advocates 'fingered' in bribe allegations

Businessman Visham Panday has filed court papers.
Businessman Visham Panday has filed court papers.

Four senior KwaZulu-Natal prosecutors and a state advocate are facing a R5-million lawsuit for illegally hindering prosecutions and soliciting bribes from a Durban businessman.

Businessman Visham Panday has sued four senior prosecutors, including a chief prosecutor, for R1-million each for allegedly abusing their authority, showing favour and breaching the National Prosecuting Act 32 of 1998.

Panday made damning allegations in court papers filed at the Durban High Court three weeks ago.

He accused a senior prosecutor and a state advocate of refusing to prosecute his car theft case unless he paid them a R150000 bribe.

Panday alleged in an affidavit that one of the senior prosecutors had previously demanded bribes amounting to R2.5-million, which he delivered in plastic bags and shoeboxes, including diamonds worth R3-million, seven years ago.

The prosecutor had, in exchange, given Panday access to dockets in a case involving the businessman's brother.

Other favours included allegedly helping Panday's friend get his case prosecuted.

NPA KwaZulu-Natal spokeswoman Natasha Ramkisson said: "The NPA is aware of the matter and the legal action. Our integrity management unit at our national office is dealing with the same as well as issues regarding the allegations."

Panday's 2014 Mercedes-Benz AMG worth about R1-million, was taken in March 2016, allegedly by a metro police officer and later had its tracking device removed and was never seen again.

Panday said in court papers that in June 2016 he was called to an "interview" by a senior prosecutor and state advocate where they "attempted to solicit a bribe of R150000" for his case to be prosecuted.

"What renders the whole incident questionable and illegitimate is that the investigating officer was not informed of the interview," Panday stated in court papers.

Despite the police officer being known, no one had been arrested and there had been no movement on the case he opened at the Phoenix police station, Durban, in May 2016.

Panday had laid a charge of car theft. However, in court papers he stated two prosecutors had refused to entertain his case.

He alleged that in August 2016, an investigating officer in his car theft case was denied a warrant of arrest for one of the suspects by two senior prosecutors.

Panday told Sowetan he approached NPA head Shaun Abrahams, Justice Minister Michael Masutha and President Jacob Zuma to intervene without any luck.

"There's just too much corruption in the NPA. They're all seemingly turning a blind eye," Panday said.

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