South Africa

COVID CORRUPTION

Former SAPS boss denied bail because of alleged assassination plot

From right: James Ramanjalum, Ramahlapi Mokwena, Maricha Joubert, Nolan Prithiviraj, Kumarasen Prithiviraj, Lorette Joubert, Salamina Khoza and Kishene Chetty in the dock of the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrates' Court on 8 February 2022. (Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed)

A former police officer facing corruption charges along with 14 other accused in connection with the R1.9-million SAPS Personal Protective Equipment procurement, was denied bail because he is alleged to have plotted to kill those investigating and prosecuting him.

A Gauteng high court has heard that a former senior ranking police officer allegedly plotted to kill those investigating and prosecuting him. The evidence became public knowledge after the Gauteng high court sitting in Palm Ridge dismissed the appeal of former police manager within National Supply chain James Ramanjalum. He appealed against the Magistrate’s Court decision to deny him bail in February 2022.

Ramanjalum faces corruption charges along with 14 other accused in connection to the R1.9-million SAPS Personal Protective Equipment procurement matter. The 15 accused face charges which include, fraud, theft, forgery, uttering and assisting another person in benefiting from the proceeds of crime.

The other accused are Salamina Khoza (67), Lorette Joubert (44), Kumarasen Prithiviraj (48), Volan Prithviraj (24), Maricha Joubert (25), Ramahlapi Johannes Mokwena (61), Lesetja David Mogotlane (58), Veeran Naipil (48), Alpheus Makhetha (47), Marcell Marney (34), Kysamula Mabasa (61), Isaac Ngobeni (60), Stephinah Mahlangu (52).

They are charged with having unlawfully benefited from the supply of latex gloves to the South African Police Service.

Ramanjalum and co-accused Kishene Chetty (39) were initially denied bail on 15 February 2022. They appealed the decision and the matter was heard in the Gauteng high court.

Sindisiwe Seboka — National Investigating Directorate National spokesperson, said: “Ramanjalum was denied bail after the Investigating Directorate lead prosecutor told the court when Ramajalum was arrested he was found in possession of witnesses’ personal information.

“He had also allegedly plotted to assassinate the investigating team members and prosecution lead.”

However, Chetty was granted bail of R250,000 with strict conditions. This includes handing over passports to the investigating officer, reporting to Midrand SAPS every Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 8am and 8pm.

Chetty was also ordered not to leave the province of Gauteng without notifying the officer handling the matter,  not to be within a radius of five hundred metres of any port of entry or exit from the Republic of South Africa until the case against him is finalised, not leave the country, not make contact with Kineil Muthray or any other person employed by Muthray & Associates.

Following a probe by the  National Prosecuting Authority’s Investigating Directorate, the group was apprehended on 7 February 2022, for allegedly enabling a supplier to unduly benefit from the procurement of latex gloves in April 2020 for the SAPS nationally.

Papers show that Chetty was the beneficial owner of the companies Siyangoba Trading and Projects (Pty) Ltd, Vatika Trading and Projects (Pty) Ltd, Argan Automotive Mechanical Innovation and Towing, Gautools, Kgotho Trading Enterprise (Pty) (Ltd) and Umbanatie Trading and Projects (Pty) Ltd.

A quoted price of R1,910,000.00 for the 1,000,000 latex gloves was required by the Supply Chain Management Division of the SAPS. The State contends that Chetty and or Khoza and or Ngobeni misrepresented that the business address of Siyangoba was 2959 Block M, Soshanguve and or 21 Lord Avenue, Windsor East, Cresta, Johannesburg.

The state also alleges that the written price quotation of Siyangoba misrepresented that the principal business of Siyanagoba was “Medical Equipment and Supplies”. “The stated ‘principal business’ was not the principal business of Siyangoba reflected in the CSD records of Siyangoba,” court papers indicate.

It is the State’s contention that Siyangoba was not a manufacturer of PPE or latex gloves and would have to source the same from a manufacturer or a company that supplied latex gloves. 

It is a legal requirement that if a supplier was not the actual manufacturer and would be sourcing the product(s) from other companies, a letter from that company or supplier confirming supply was required to accompany the written price quotation submitted by the invited supplier, the court papers explain.

Papers also reveal that when Khoza submitted a written price quotation she indicated that she was a recipient of a social grant from the South African Social Security (Sassa) and the written price quotation of Siyangoba contained a fraudulent Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) certificate. 

Khoza was required to disclose the material fact that she was not a recipient of a social grant and is alleged not to have done so.

The State argues the procurement of latex gloves was not done in accordance with the principles of fairness, equitability, transparency, competitiveness, and cost-effectiveness as required by the Constitution.

The probe by the Investigating Directorate also found that Siyangoba and or its directors and or beneficial owners allegedly had a relationship with members of the SAPS.

During the period 5 to 14 May 2020, a total of 452,000 latex gloves were delivered to SAPS by Kishene Chetty and Salamina Khoza and or Siyangoba. In May 2022 the SAPS is said to have paid an amount of R865,612 to Chetty, Khoza and or Siyangoba for the latex gloves supplied to the SAPS.

The probe also found that during the period 25 May and 26 June a total amount of R270,000  is alleged to have been paid to Muthray & Associates, a firm of attorneys based in Pretoria.

“An amount of R100,000 from this amount was for the legal fees incurred by Joubert, Prithiviraj, Joubert, Vatika, Argan, Guatools, Kgotho and Umbanatie in an appeal against an order of the Gauteng local division of the high court.

“The payments made to the attorney by Chetty, Khoza and or Siyangoba constituted gratifications and were proceeds of unlawful crimes,” the State argues.

The state claims that Brigadier Ramanjalum played a significant role in the alleged PPE fraud and corruption by receiving unauthorised gratification.

“Ramanjalum wrongfully and intentionally, directly or indirectly, accepted or agreed to accept from Chetty, Khoza and or Siyangoba unauthorised gratification in the form of payment of an amount of R50,000 that served as legal fees in a case that was on the court roll at the Specialised Crime Court in Palm Ridge. He is guilty of the offence of receiving unauthorised gratification,” the papers read.

The State further argues that Ramanjalum in his position as Brigadier in SAPS acted in a manner that would ensure that the SAPS awarded a contract to supply goods or render services to the SAPS to Chetty, Khoza and or Siyangoba.

The matter will be back in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court for joint purpose on Tuesday 29 March 2022. DM

 

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