The baker, the prosecutor and the murderer

2011-10-16 10:00
Erna Van Wyk
Baking bread has become a dangerous business on the West Rand in Gauteng.

In true mafia-style, for more than a year three businessmen and their employees were continuously harassed, arrested, charged, intimidated and threatened – allegedly by cronies of a business rival.

The alleged influence Shaun Tuna, owner of Nature’s Dream Bread, had on controlling the bread industry in this area stretched wide. So wide that in the past two months the Hawks have arrested him and two senior prosecutors, two organised crime detectives, four police officers, two defence attorneys, a business partner and two of Tuna’s employees.

Shock waves reverberated through the Protea Magistrates Court on Friday when retired West Rand chief prosecutor André (Lampies) Lamprecht appeared in the dock along with police officer Moses Matsau.

They are the last of the 14 to be arrested and together they face 40 charges – including racketeering, corruption, defeating the ends of justice, extortion, fraud, forgery and uttering.

The “bread case”, as it has become known, began in 2007 when Sergio Goncalves, Patrick Nunes and Ricardo Pereira had a fall-out with Tuna. This while they were all working for Nature’s Dream.

The three left Tuna’s business and Nunes started his own bread supply business called Nature’s Harvest.

Both businesses supply bread to Pakistani hawkers who then sell it to their customers on predetermined routes.

Before Goncalves left, he was allegedly made to sign a restraint agreement with Tuna preventing him from engaging in a similar business for a period of time.

Tuna then allegedly tried to stop Nature’s Harvest from operating, but he lost his high court action.

It is alleged that acts by the accused from January 2009 to December last year resulted in various criminal cases being opened against Goncalves, Nunes, Pereira and Nature’s Harvest employees based on false claims.

These included serious charges such as armed robbery and unlawful possession of a firearm.

The strategy was that people would be arrested on trumped-up charges and then pressured into falsely implicating Goncalves and his partners in other crimes in return for lighter or suspended sentences, money or other benefits.

The State alleges none of these acts would have succeeded if not for the cooperation of the prosecutors, police officers and attorneys. Acts such as the incident where notorious double-murderer and one of the first blue-light robbers in the country, Clinton Kramer, was approached for assistance.

Sources say that Kramer is Tuna’s stepbrother. He is currently in prison for the murders of Concelia Maré, an acquaintance, and Losire Tillia Ramotswiri in 2006. That is the year that he murdered Maré in a hotel room in Pretoria. Ramotswiri died when Kramer burned down the room to conceal Maré’s murder. Kramer committed this crime shortly after he was released on parole after serving 12 years for crimes he committed in the early 1990s when his gang used police sirens to stop motorists, shoot them and hijack their vehicles.

Preliminary charges indicate that Lamprecht allegedly advised Tuna, in 2009, to approach Kramer who was in prison awaiting trial for the double murder.

Tuna and organised crime unit member Edward Cock then allegedly offered Kramer R80?000 to make a false statement implicating Goncalves and another worker in a conspiracy to murder Tuna, Lamprecht and his nephew, prosecutor Adriaan Lamprecht.

Tuna allegedly assured Kramer that Lampies Lamprecht was “in his pocket”.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said in the course of this racket at least three people have served sentences for crimes they did not commit.

The NPA has also secured the release of others from custody who were arrested on false charges but didn’t get bail.

“We are worried that there might be other people in other cases that are serving sentences for crimes they did not commit and we hope this is not the case,” Mhaga said.

Specifically referring to the two Lamprecht-prosecutors and the attorneys, Mhaga said the entire criminal justice system was manipulated and influenced in this case.