Panday indictment for Fifa fraud becomes a family affair

Four immediate family members and an assistant of Durban businessman Toshan Pillay will join him and three former police officers as co-accused in the R47-million fraud and corruption trial relating to rigged contracts awarded in the run-up to the 2010 Fifa World Cup. 

Panday’s family members are named in an amended indictment the National Prosecuting Authority handed to the high court in Durban on Monday, but the NPA’s Investigating Directorate (ID) asked that they not be named because they are still to be arrested and charged.

“The matter was postponed to allow five other suspects to be arrested and joined in the matter,” ID spokesperson Sindisiwe Twala said on Monday.

The five are likely to appear in the regional court first, before all nine suspects will appear in the high court for a pre-trial hearing on May 21.

The amendment indictment lists 275 charges, including racketeering, and brings to trial a matter that has dogged and divided senior KwaZulu-Natal police for more than a decade. 

Panday was arrested and charged last year along with former police colonel Navin Madhoe, 51; his then subordinate, former captain Ashwin Narainpershad, 52 and retired KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner Mmamonnye Ngobeni, 52.

Madhoe and Narainpershad stand accused of manipulating procurement processes to give Panday and his relations “a monopoly” on providing goods and services, including temporary accommodation, to police; additional officers were sent to the province ahead of the world’s biggest football tournament.

In the case of the temporary housing, the prosecution alleges that the police paid R12-million more than the going rate.

Some of the companies that benefited were fronted by Panday’s family members, but the indictment describes him as “the ultimate decision-maker” and traces how money flowed back to him and how he rewarded Madoe, Narainpershad and Ngobeni with gifts.

In the latter case, this included paying R8 172 towards a surprise birthday party for her husband. Narainpershad allegedly benefited to the tune of more than R50 000 in flights, accommodation and tuition fees for his son.

Ngobeni is alleged to have used her position to block attempts by the Hawks’ former head in KwaZulu-Natal, General Johan Booysen, to investigate Panday. It is alleged that Madhoe tried to bribe Booysen with more than R1-million in cash supplied by Panday to tamper with evidence and torpedo the investigation the Hawks boss had begun.

The case was thrown out by the then head of provincial prosecutions, Moipone Noko, in 2014 based on “lack of evidence”, but the decision was overturned in 2016.

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