Top cop to pay for his corruption behind bars
A dodgy businessman was the downfall of former Western Cape commissioner in a case that echoed that of Jackie Selebi
Former Western Cape top cop Arno Lamoer would have spent Thursday night in the comfort of his home had he heeded Jackie Selebi’s downfall.
Selebi, the former national police commission and former head of Interpol, died while on medical parole on a 15-year sentence. He was convicted in 2010 for taking bribes from underworld figure Glenn Agliotti – whom he called his friend. Lamoer was sentenced alongside dodgy businessman Salim Dawjee and two former police brigadiers Darius van der Ross and Colin Govender in the High Court in Cape Town on Thursday. Dawjee paid Lamoer’s clothing accounts and his holidays.
In her judgment, Judge Rosheen Allie painted a picture of a police service under siege from Dawjee who doled out money to the top police officers. So tight was Dawjee’s grip on the senior policemen that he, said Allie, publicly boasted of having influence over the redeployment of police officers.
Lamoer’s explanation, that Dawjee was a long-time friend who helped him during hard times, fell flat. He claimed that he had paid back the R67,000 “loan” he received from Dawjee after he received his pension. A letter of good standing – on a police letterhead – in which he said Dawjee was not under investigation for money laundering and drug dealing also sunk him.“In the case of [Lamoer] he held the most senior leadership position in the SAPS in the province, namely that the provincial commissioner,” said Allie.
“In addition, there have been several high-profile corruption cases which were widely publicised … The case of former national commissioner of police … would have come to the attention of police officers in the leadership positions. …Selebi … publicly opted for an explanation of an alleged corruptor being his friend. Despite that explanation, he was convicted.”
The four initially denied the charges but later changed their pleas. The state was not opposed to a non-custodial sentence but Allie said the crimes were too serious and slapped Dawjee with an effective six-year prison sentence and Van der Ross with a two-year sentence, while Govender will spend four years in prison.
“In weighing the aggravating features of the commission of the offences as outlined herein, against the mitigating factors, I find that correctional supervision would not send out a sufficiently strong signal of deterrence and sanction. Nor would it facilitate the accuseds’ recognition of acceptance of responsibility for the severity of their offences which have dire consequences,” Allie said.“Taking account of the individual role that each accused played in the commission of this relevant offence or offences as well as the role they each played in facilitating the offences committed by their co-accused, the impact that those offences had on other officers, the SAPS and society as a whole, the individual accused’s personal circumstances and the positions they occupied at the time, I am of the view that the most appropriate sentence for each offence and for each accused is a term of imprisonment.”
They all applied for bail pending an application for leave to appeal the sentence. Allie will rule on the application on Friday.
The National Prosecution Authority (NPA) welcomed the sentences. Provincial spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said: “The NPA regards the conviction for corruption of a former Provincial Commissioner of SAPS, together with three of the former highest-ranking SAPS officers in the province and the businessman and his corporations who corrupted them, as a rare and major success in the fight against grand corruption, to which the NPA is committed.”