The High Court of South Africa, Eastern Cape Division, sitting in East London has granted a forfeiture order of R1,5 million to the NPA’s Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU). The money was seized during a trap set up against a senior Eastern Cape government official, Neil Naidoo, who attempted to bribe the NPA’s Investigating Directorate’s (ID) chief investigator. The tainted funds will now be deposited into the Criminal Assets Recovery Account (CARA) to bolster law enforcement.

Naidoo, a Chief Director of Community Safety and Liaison, allegedly paid the money on behalf of businesspersons, Mathew Pillay and Kassavan Govender who were under investigation by the ID. The ID had been investigating shoddy services in relation to furniture supplied to the South African Police Service (SAPS) by KJP Traders, a company Pillay ran on behalf of his old age grant-earning mother.

On 09 March 2022, the Chief Investigator of the ID received a message to the effect that Naidoo wanted to meet in relation to an investigation pertaining to such furniture. On 14 May 2022, after several meetings and negotiations, Naidoo met with the chief investigator and the R1,5 million was handed over, on behalf of Pillay and Govender. The initial promise was that the R1,5 million was the first instalment of many to come.

Naidoo, Pillay and Govender were arrested thereafter and will appear again on 10 November 2022 in the East London Magistrates’ Court for further investigation. The AFU East London office obtained a preservation order, in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, on 14 June 2022 on the basis that the funds were used to facilitate the easier commission of corruption or proceeds thereof. The accused were afforded an opportunity to oppose the granting of the forfeiture order and they opted not to.

This forfeiture to the state has been made possible by the swift collaboration between the ID, the SAPS and AFU, in order to take profit out of crime.

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