Members of the SA Police Services’ (SAPS) supply chain management was complicit in the plundering of millions of rands from the SAPS by Durban-based businessperson Thoshan Panday during the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
This according to retired Colonel Johannes van Loggerenberg who testified before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture on Wednesday.
Loggerenberg told commission chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo that the SAPS supply chain manager Colonel Navin Madhoe and other officials in the department waited until the eleventh hour to issue out a tender for accommodation to house police officials who were to be on duty during the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
“Although we uncovered that Madhoe started meeting with Panday months before the World Cup was scheduled to start, the former waited until the last minute to approach the SAPS’ head office with a memo stating that he had gotten companies [hotels and airbnbs] willing to supply accommodation for the police members working during the Soccer World Cup starting in a couple of days,” he said.
“The delay in submitting the memo meant that he could not follow the proper tender procurement procedures as this application was now a matter of urgency,” said Loggerenberg.
Loggerenberg, with 35 years experience in commercial investigations, said together with investigator Vassan Soobramoney, they uncovered that Madhoe and other officials in the supply chain had “issued out tender documents to other hotels but chose to sit on them or sweep them under the carpet”.
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“They offered the inflated tender to Panday who had initially said he had already booked his 10 hotels to accommodate the police officers. We later found this not to be true, Panday had no hotels or airbnbs. He went on to book the officers in the same hotels that had made bids that were never evaluated by Madhoe and pocketed the rest of the money,” said Loggerenberg.
His testimony collaborated evidence presented by former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Johan Booysen in April last year. Booysen told the inquiry that Panday obtained a police accommodation contract during the World Cup and inflated prices leading to him pocketing about R60 million.
Loggerenberg said “this fraud and corruption was uncovered by Brigadier Charles Kemp, the head of provincial financial services in KwaZulu-Natal, who identified the high costs of accommodation and irregularities. Kemp handed over an internal information note inter alia to Booysen to investigate”.
“Having investigated how much other hotels and airbnbs charged, we realised that Panday’s prices were 200% to 400% higher and at this point we started a full investigation.”
He also alleged that Panday gave Mandhoe and his other accomplices “goods and sent them on holidays, they were wined and dined for their troubles”, said Loggerenberg.
Panday is also alleged to have defrauded the SAPS’s supply chain, this was according to the former investigator’s testimony.
“Panday would buy generators for R4 900 each and resell them to the SAPS for between R92 000 – R97 000 each,” said Loggerenberg.
During his testimony last year, Loggerenberg’s supervisor Booysen, said Mmamonnye Ngobeni – who previously served as the province’s police commissioner – instructed him to drop the investigation into Panday.
This after Panday allegedly paid about R30 000 for a birthday bash for Ngobeni’s husband, Major General Lucas Ngobeni.
Booysen told the commission that he did not comply with the instruction.
Following Ngobeni’s instruction to Booysen, the former provincial Hawks boss was called into a meeting with the former provincial commissioner and other officials, including one from supply chain management, who at that time was a suspect in the investigation.
Booysen said this meeting ended with Ngobeni informing him that the investigation would be handed over to a different officer.
No charges were ever filed against Panday as a result.