Former police commissioner Arno Lamoer to be sentenced for corruption

Former Western Cape police commissioner Lieutenant-General Arno Lamoer .
Former Western Cape police commissioner Lieutenant-General Arno Lamoer .
Image: Trevor Samson/Business Day

Disgraced former Western Cape police commissioner Arno Lamoer will be sentenced for corruption in the High Court in Cape Town on Thursday.

Cape Town International Jazz Festival tickets‚ petrol cards‚ holidays‚ flight tickets and pool maintenance were the undoing of Lamoer and two other former top provincial cops.

In February‚ Lamoer admitted accepting “loans” from businessman Saleem Dawjee‚ who also paid for the former commissioner’s clothing and holidays.

Lamoer admitted to “wrongfully and unlawfully” issuing a letter of good standing – on a police letterhead – on behalf of Dawjee to benefit his companies. He was found guilty of corruption.

The letter said: “This office is not aware of any criminal investigation against Mr Dawjee in respect of money-laundering‚ drug-dealing or any criminal activity. As the provincial commissioner of the South African Police Service (SAPS) Western Cape‚ Mr Dawjee is known to the undersigned for over [20] years and is not aware neither bears knowledge of Mr Dawjee being investigated or convicted of any criminal activity.

“As an officer of the law for almost [34] years and in my position as provincial commissioner and senior official I cannot and will not associate myself with any person who is involved in any criminal activity. Mr… Dawjee is a well-respected businessperson who also does business with the South African Police Service ... through proper procurement processes.”

Lamoer‚ 58‚ was arrested in 2015 after a two-year investigation and faced more than 100 charges of corruption‚ racketeering and money-laundering involving about R1.6-million.

He was indicted with Dawjee‚ former police brigadiers Darius Van der Ross‚ Sharon Govender and her husband Colin. They initially denied the charges but later changed their pleas. Sharon Govender was acquitted.

According to the Hawks‚ Lamoer “received money in his bank account‚ had his clothing accounts together with a certain holiday paid for by Dawjee”. Van der Ross received “gratifications which included having his private vehicle filled with petrol in exchange for favours”. Colin Govender was accused of receiving “unauthorised gratifications amounting to R1.2-million”.

In his admission of guilt‚ Lamoer said he had served “the police for over 35 years with distinction and loyalty towards our country and its people”. He defied a number of challenges before he was bestowed with the top police badge in the province.

“I was born in a small rural town‚ Riviersonderend‚ and was raised by a single mother after my father passed away when I was only 10 years old‚” said Lamoer.

“I lost my wife in 2005 and raised my three daughters on my own.”

He said he befriended Dawjee 25 years ago when he worked at Manenberg police station and they supported each other in “difficult times”. He took loans from Dawjee between 2011 and 2013 with the “understanding that it must be paid back on request or after my retirement from [police]. I honoured the agreement after my retirement.”

The Asset Forfeiture Unit has since launched a confiscation application to recover money that Lamoer received through corruption. The AFU is suing Lamoer for more than R67 000‚ which he claims was a loan from Dawjee when he fell on tough times. It is also seeking more than R3 000 from Van der Ross and more than R24 000 from Colin Govender. Van der Ross admitted to using Dawjee’s petrol cards to fill up his car for up to R3 324.60.

Dawjee admitted giving Lamoer more than R67 000 and paying gratifications to Govender and Van der Ross. He said Lamoer had repaid the money in full.

Colin Govender admitted receiving gratifications worth more than R24 000 from Dawjee and pleaded guilty to one charge of corruption. He said Dawjee is his cousin and he paid for his pool maintenance‚ vehicle rental‚ petrol expenses and flight tickets.

“Our families are supporting each other when the need arises from time to time with loans and business arrangements‚” Colin Govender told the court. “We go on holidays together and are the closest of house friends.”

Colin Govender admitted to doing a number of favours for Dawjee including:

- Going Gugulethu to “check on a vehicle which was used in a burglary” at the house of Dawjee’s brother;

- Introducing a Warrant Officer Knoetzen to Dawjee in order to assist Dawjee’s daughter with an appeal in her firearm licence application. He also got Dawjee to give jazz festival tickets to a Lieutenant-General Ntombela‚ of Mpumalanga‚ in 2013;

- Introducing a Captain Hendricks to Dawjee to assist him with an application to “temporarily possess a firearm”;

- Ordering a Constable De Jager to hand over a “Norinco pistol” to Dawjee;

- Dawjee requested him to print his and his wife’s firearm registrations to “see whether they would qualify for another firearm”. Govender ordered Warrant Officer Knoetzen to make the printouts’ and

- Called a detective commander to hand over a “Polo vehicle which was recovered”.

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