I was set up: Private eye cries ‘witch-hunt’ in row with DA bigwig
Accused of taking cash from Dianne Kohler-Barnard without delivering, he has a very different version of events
The battle lines have been drawn after Democratic Alliance MP Dianne Kohler-Barnard accused controversial Durban private investigator Brad Nathanson of fleecing her of R10,000.
Her allegations prompted the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (Psira) to investigate code of conduct charges, threaten Nathanson with suspension from practising, and initiate a criminal investigation.
But Nathanson said Kohler-Barnard used her parliamentary status to influence the “witch-hunt”.
Kohler-Barnard said she’d believed that Nathanson was a person to be trusted and had gone to him to for help in gathering evidence to be used in a friend’s divorce proceedings.
“After complying with his demand for R10,000 up front, and receiving nothing but excuses, we were finally forced in desperation to go to another PI,” she said.
“I asked him to return my money, and I was shocked when he flatly refused.” she claimed.
Kohler-Barnard reported Nathanson to Psira and, at her request, the body began probing Nathanson.
“They began an investigation and they have uncovered that despite all claims, he is only registered as an individual and is not linked to any business. Psira stated it is a criminal offence for him to be operating as a PI,” she added.
“For a person of trust to take advantage of individuals during a most vulnerable time of their lives, has told me all I want to know about him.”
Psira spokesman Oupa Mamabolo confirmed that Nathanson was under investigation and would face a tribunal which would determine his fate.
On criminal charges, police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said a case of contravention of the security act was opened at the Inchanga police station.
“It is alleged the suspect [Nathanson] has been trading an unregistered security business based in Drummond,” she said.
In his counter-punch, Nathanson said he was the victim of a witch-hunt by Kohler-Barnard and that semantics were being used to intimidate him.
“What this boils down to is that my birth name, Bradley Nathanson, is Psira-registered but Brad Nathanson is not. My Psira number appears on my website. Is this the behaviour of somebody who wants to stay out of the sight of authorities,” he said.
He had met Psira officials to iron out “spurious allegations”.
“She asked me to procure cellular itemised billing for [the phone of] the husband of her friend. This was at a time when us as PIs had access to such information. A week or so into the mandate, however, I received a call advising me that the target number had changed and I was given another number.
“It was too late to cancel the first order but when my source discovered who the registered owner of the second number was, they immediately contacted me to warn me that I was likely being set up,” Nathanson added.
This, he said, was because the focus of his investigation was a former ANC heavyweight who is currently employed by the police. He declined to name the official.
When this came to light he had halted the investigation.
“A can of worms is going to be opened and I have nothing to hide, and a story to tell,” he said.