Cops leave in­former to rot in jail

Of­fi­cer ac­cused of not fill­ing in form

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - KHAYA KOKO

AREGISTERED po­lice in­former has been lan­guish­ing in a derelict prison for over three years de­spite al­legedly help­ing the SAPS bring down a no­to­ri­ous car thief and a house-break­ing gang.

A fu­ri­ous Jo­hann Harhoff has ac­cused the po­lice of en­dan­ger­ing his life by leav­ing him at the mercy of crim­i­nals be­hind bars in a Potchef­stroom prison.

SAPS spokesper­son Bri­gadier Vishnu Naidoo said yes­ter­day that he would in­ves­ti­gate the cir­cum­stances of the “in­former”, but cau­tioned that po­lice “never dis­cuss in­form­ers in the pub­lic do­main”.

“I will never com­ment on an in­former, be­cause we might end up be­ing sued,” said Naidoo.

He also re­ferred fur­ther queries to the Hawks be­cause the com­mer­cial crimes unit falls un­der the agency.

Hawks spokesper­son Cap­tain Carol Mu­lamu promised to in­ves­ti­gate Harhoff’s claims as of to­day.

Harhoff claims he be­came a po­lice in­former in 2011 when he of­fered to help Pretoria-based Sergeant Susara Jo­hanna Lourens re­cover stolen ve­hi­cles from a sus­pected “syn­di­cate leader” who later faced a five-year trial.

Harhoff claims the syn­di­cate would al­legedly hire ve­hi­cles from car rental com­pa­nies and fraud­u­lently sell them to un­sus­pect­ing buy­ers.

“I knew him (syn­di­cate leader) per­son­ally and what he was in­volved in. I as­sisted the po­lice to get all the ve­hi­cles back,” he ex­plained.

Lourens, in a sworn af­fi­davit writ­ten in Afrikaans and seen by The Star, con­firmed that Harhoff was a po­lice in­for­mant whom she reg­is­tered with an at­ten­dant agent num­ber CCU038.

She also stated in her in­ves­ti­ga­tion di­ary, also seen by The Star, that the sus­pect hired “ve­hi­cles from Avis and Bud­get and sells ve­hi­cles to peo­ple. He (sus­pect) hired a Mr Berg to re­move the track­ers (de­vices) out of the ve­hi­cles. Var­i­ous wit­ness state­ments (were) ob­tained and filed in (the) case docket.” This en­try was logged in July 2011. Lourens also de­tailed in her in­ves­ti­ga­tion di­ary how Harhoff helped her and that the po­lice set a trap for the sus­pect. She wrote in her af­fi­davit that stolen ve­hi­cles worth roughly “R4.5 mil­lion” were re­cov­ered through the po­lice’s col­lab­o­ra­tion with Harhoff.

Harhoff this week said: “I or­gan­ised for him (sus­pect) to come to my house and the po­lice were wait­ing there for him. And when he en­tered my yard, I closed the gate and the po­lice ar­rested him.”

But he said things turned sour for him in 2014 af­ter alert­ing his po­lice han­dler to new in­for­ma­tion about a house­break­ing gang, which was op­er­at­ing in the Joburg area.

“I was ar­rested dur­ing a botched house­break­ing in Ven­ters­dorp in June 2014, with the al­leged ring leader of this gang.”

Harhoff said he was in Ven­ters­dorp to meet the house­break­ing ring leader to get more in­for­ma­tion as an un­der­cover in­for­mant when the po­lice ar­rested him.

Lourens again con­firmed in her af­fi­davit that Harhoff had in­formed her of the al­leged house-break­ings in Joburg, “and that he was in the process of get­ting more in­for­ma­tion from a man by the name of Kal­lie”.

Lourens added that she men­tioned this to a Bri­gadier C Jonker, where the case was to be trans­ferred to the Or­gan­ised Crime Unit and Harhoff would have to com­plete an Art252a form that guar­an­tees him im­mu­nity from ar­rest for po­lice in­form­ers.

“How­ever, be­fore the meet­ing could take place, Mr Harhoff was ar­rested and, ac­cord­ing to the in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer Ste­fan Coet­zee of Ven­ters­dorp, he was in­volved in a crim­i­nal act,” Lourens wrote.

But Harhoff is adamant that Lourens did not com­plete the Art252a and he has been locked up as re­sult of that neg­li­gence.

THREE YEARS LATER: A fu­ri­ous Jo­hann Harhoff is ac­cus­ing the po­lice of en­dan­ger­ing his life by leav­ing him at the mercy of crim­i­nals in a Potchef­stroom prison.

IN­HU­MANE: These photos show the shock­ing con­di­tions Harhoff has had to en­dure while in a Potchef­stroom prison.

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