A former Ekurhuleni metro police officer has told the Pretoria District Court that he signed a false statement in order to protect his boss, Robert McBride, the Star reported on Wednesday.
Patrick Johnson told the court on Tuesday that he had signed a statement under oath in 2007, stating that McBride had been sober when he crashed his car in December 2006. Johnson was giving evidence during the trial of Dr Joseph Moratioa, who is charged with fraud and defeating the ends of justice.
Moratioa, who has pleaded not guilty to the charges, is alleged to have given McBride a false medical certificate after the crash.
Moratioa was apparently one of several doctors approached by McBride and his men after he was involved in a car accident while allegedly under the influence of alcohol.
The medical certificate was supposed to reflect that McBride was not under the influence of alcohol, and that he had low sugar levels.
Johnson told the court that he had only signed the statement, which was later submitted to former Ekurhuleni executive mayor Duma Nkosi. “The statement was prepared by Trish Armstrong, who also read it during the meeting with the mayor,” Johnson said.
Asked by Moratioa’s lawyer, advocate Johan Pretorius, if he had challenged the contents of the statement, Johnson said he could not because he was afraid of McBride.
“I was scared of that man [McBride],” Johnson said, pointing to McBride, who was seated in the public gallery.
He claimed again that McBride had threatened members of his “clean-up team”, which included Stanley Sagathevan and Itumeleng Koko.
“He said he would rape our wives, kill our pets and our children,” he said, adding that he had been forced to sign the statement.
Pretorius wanted to know from Johnson why it had taken him and other members of the “clean-up team” six months to go to the police to report the matter.
Johnson said the threats from McBride were becoming “unbearable”.
“He had people following my children and taking pictures of my house,” he said.
Earlier, Johnson told the court that the “clean-up team” had been ordered to find a doctor who could issue a medical certificate for McBride stating that the had not been drunk.
According to Johnson, they approached three doctors, including a district surgeon.
“We visited a pastor who runs an Aids centre in Katlehong [in Ekurhuleni]. There was a doctor staying on the premises, but he declined to issue the medical certificate,” said Johnson.
Asked what the instruction was regarding the certificate, Johnson said he could not remember the instructions
The case was postponed to March 1. — Sapa