Top cop loses bid to halt trial over Hawks boss ‘bribe’
Court removes legal barrier to prosecute KZN colonel for allegedly trying to bribe Hawks boss Johan Booysen
Corruption-accused Colonel Navin Madhoe has lost a court bid to halt his prosecution for allegedly trying to bribe former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Johan Booysen.
The Durban High Court effectively threw out a legal challenge by Madhoe on Friday, paving the way for the National Prosecuting Authority to try him and his co-accused, the politically connected businessman Thoshan Panday.
The case against Madhoe was withdrawn in 2013 by KwaZulu-Natal prosecutions head Moipone Noko on the basis that it wasn’t winnable. But former national director of public prosecutions Shaun Abrahams reversed her decision three years later. It was this reversal that Madhoe wanted to challenge in court but failed on Friday.
That means there is now no legal barrier to the NPA to finally trying Panday and Madhoe, who was accused of giving nearly R1.4m to Booysen.
Madhoe and Panday allegedly tried to bribe Booysen to alter crucial documentation that would be used as evidence against Panday, who is accused of corrupt involvement in a R60m 2010 Soccer World Cup tender.
In court papers in 2016, Madhoe claimed he was being targeted because he was a key witness in the prosecution of the Cato Manor police squad – which Booysen led. Booysen has dismissed that claim as “rubbish”.
Madhoe’s claims were partly supported by Noko herself. In her reasons for dropping the charges, she alleged Booysen wanted to “silence Madhoe” because of his “damning evidence against him”.
She further claimed to have evidence of a conspiracy to oust KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner Mmamonnye Ngobeni – herself accused of having a corrupt relationship with Panday – so that Booysen could take her place.
The National Prosecuting Authority however argued in court on Friday it had a strong case against Madhoe, and accused of him of “abusing” court processes to avoid him and Panday being put on trial.
“(Madhoe) has poor merits in the application since he challenges the decision to prosecute him on baseless grounds,” the NPA’s advocate Hilton Epstein said in its heads of argument.
“This must be seen against (Madhoe) having being caught red-handed trying to bribe a former colleague, then Major-General Johan Booysen, by offering him an amount of R1,363,620 in cash in exchange for General Booysen agreeing to have a report backdated, which report allegedly implicated Madhoe, a colonel in the SAPS, in amongst others, for tender fraud.
“The charges against Madhoe in the criminal matter are serious and the evidence against him is compelling to say the least. It is for that reason that Madhoe would seize on any opportunity to delay the prosecution."
The Durban High Court dismissed Madhoe’s application with costs.
Booysen told Times Select he hoped the case would now finally proceed to trial.
“I’ve said all along that Panday and Madhoe tried to bribe me. Now the court must decide on what the truth is. There is so much evidence, and it’s important that a court sees, and decides on, that evidence.”
Abrahams also reversed Noko’s decision not to prosecute Panday in connection with the allegedly corrupt R60m tender. Panday is currently challenging that decision in court.
Speaking to Times Select on Tuesday, Madhoe expressed unhappiness over the fact that the case had been dismissed “in my absence”, after his former lawyers failed to have it postponed and then withdrew as his representatives.
“I am considering my legal options. I have 20 days to decide,” he said.
The National Prosecuting Authority in KwaZulu-Natal has yet to respond to questions about if and when Panday and Madhoe will appear in court.