Hawks ditch in­former af­ter me­dia re­ports

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - KHAYA KOKO

THE HAWKS yes­ter­day con­firmed that the pris­oner al­leged to have been left to lan­guish in a derelict Potchef­stroom prison is in­deed an in­former for the unit.

How­ever, Hawks spokesper­son Cap­tain Carol Mu­lamu has­tened to add that Jo­hann Harhoff, pic­tured, the in­for­mant in ques­tion, will be de-reg­is­tered as an agent due to the “se­cu­rity risk” brought about by the ex­posé of his plight in the me­dia.

Mu­lamu added that the rea­sons for Harhoff be­ing ar­rested in Ven­ters­dorp in June 2014 “were not recog­nised” by the crime fight­ing unit, which is why the Hawks could not in­ter­vene in his mat­ter.

Yes­ter­day, The Star re­ported that a fu­ri­ous Harhoff was ac­cus­ing the po­lice of putting his life in dan­ger by leav­ing him at the mercy of crim­i­nals be­hind bars for more than three years.

This was de­spite him as­sist­ing law en­force­ment agen­cies to bring down a no­to­ri­ous car thief and a house-break­ing gang.

Harhoff helped the Com­mer­cial Crimes Unit, which now falls un­der the Hawks, in 2011 to re­cover ve­hi­cles val­ued at more than R4 mil­lion through crit­i­cal in­tel­li­gence that he pro­vided.

He was also cen­tral to an elab­o­rate sting op­er­a­tion that ap­pre­hended the chief per­pe­tra­tor.

These cars were re­turned to car rental com­pa­nies Bud­get and Avis, com­pa­nies that were the worst af­fected by the crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties that oc­curred in and around Tsh­wane.

Yes­ter­day, Mu­lamu ac­knowl­edged what she called a “very good” and “suc­cess­ful” re­la­tion­ship that Harhoff had with his handler, War­rant Of­fi­cer Susara Lourens. She said this re­la­tion­ship would be ter­mi­nated. “Re­mem­ber, we didn’t ex­pose him – he ap­proached you on his own. Now the Hawks’ and his se­cu­rity have been com­pro­mised. This is why he has to be dereg­is­tered be­cause we can­not be work­ing with a per­son like him,” said Mu­lamu.

Harhoff added that he was ar­rested while with a man by the name of Kal­lie dur­ing a botched house-break­ing. Al­though War­rant Of­fi­cer Lourens con­ceded in a sworn af­fi­davit that Harhoff was gath­er­ing in­tel­li­gence on Kal­lie, views which were echoed by Mu­lamu yes­ter­day, the Hawks main­tain that Harhoff’s trip to Ven­ters­dorp was not sanc­tioned.

“On June 4, 2014, when I was ar­rested in Ven­ters­dorp, I as­sisted the po­lice the fol­low­ing day to go and ar­rest Kal­lie in Midrand,” he told The Star.

He claims Lourens did not com­plete the sec­tion 252A that guar­an­tees im­mu­nity from ar­rest for in­form­ers.

Mu­lamu coun­tered by say­ing Lourens did not have to com­plete the sec­tion 252A as the “op­er­a­tion” Harhoff was busy with was not recog­nised by his handler’s of­fice.

“Ac­cord­ing to Crim­i­nal Pro­ce­dure Act 51 of 1977, sec­tion 252A states that one can par­tic­i­pate in crime with the le­gal author­i­ties and per­mis­sion granted by the Na­tional Pros­e­cu­tion Au­thor­ity (NPA) ex­clud­ing vi­o­lent crimes such as mur­der, rob­beries (and) hi­jack­ing-re­lated crime.”

Mu­lamu was non-com­mit­tal on whether the Hawks would visit Harhoff, say­ing they were wait­ing for his court case to be con­cluded be­fore mak­ing a de­ci­sion.

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