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'My wife convinced me to come clean' - tearful state capture witness denies testifying to avoid prosecution

Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo.
Deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo.
Image: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Thulani Mbele

Police whistleblower Col Dhanajaya Naidoo denied that he turned himself over to the Hawks in 2011 to avoid prosecution for his role in looting Crime Intelligence's secret service account.

Naidoo, who is in witness protection, spent his fourth and last day testifying in camera at the state capture inquiry on Wednesday. He apologised for what he did while employed in Crime Intelligence.

Naidoo was a self-confessed “lackey” of former Crime Intelligence boss Richard Mdluli and secret service account manager Solomon Lazarus. His testimony detailed how he, Mdluli, Lazarus and other officials illegally used millions of rands from the secret service account to upgrade their homes, pay bribes, travel overseas and purchase luxury vehicles.

Naidoo became emotional and cried as he testified about his experience in witness protection. He, his wife and two children have been in the programme for eight years.

“It was actually my wife who convinced me to come clean, and on October 19 2011 when on my own accord I disclosed all the allegations of criminality taking place at Crime Intelligence, including myself. There was a version put forward that I only did this because I wanted to secure a deal for myself to avoid prosecution. This is untrue,” he said.

He said he consented to an interview with Hawks officers without a lawyer, knowing that he would incriminate himself and be arrested.

“On October 25, this was my blanket affidavit which I deposed to. I did say I would like to be treated as a Section 204 witness. The notion or suggestion that I only came forward with all of this to get a deal to avoid prosecution is totally untrue.

“It’s been difficult, it’s been extremely difficult. Next month will be eight years that I will be in witness protection. Especially the first few years, my children basically grew up in witness protection. We live our lives month-to-month; we can’t make plans further than a month.

“I made decisions that I deeply regret and I am truly sorry. I’m sorry for my actions.”

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