ACCUSED OFFICER A WITNESS IN PMB’S SONI TRIAL
COLONEL Clarence Jones, the commander of the KZN AntiCorruption Task Team, featured as a defence witness in the Pietermaritzburg high court trial of Rajivee Soni.
Businessman Soni had been charged with the murder of local doctor Bhavish Sewram on May 13, 2013.
According to evidence in that case, Jones was in charge of a “sting” operation carried out in the wake of a complaint by Soni (and his former attorney, Naren Sangham) to police. It led to the arrest of a potential state witness in Soni’s trial, Mountain Rise policeman Darryl Gounder.
As a result of the “sting”, Gounder was charged for allegedly trying to extort money from Soni in exchange for altering his version.
Jones also controversially featured in the testimony of another state witness in Soni’s case: Mlungisi Professor Sithebe claimed in court that Jones and a colleague by the name of Maistry had threatened him in a bid to persuade him to “correct” a statement he had made.
Jones vehemently denied these allegations in his evidence.
He stressed that he had not known Soni before the latter laid a complaint against Gounder.
Jones further testified that his dealings with Sithebe had been “amicable” and denied intimidating him.
Soni’s murder trial is due to resume in the Pietermaritzburg high court on February 26, when closing arguments will be presented by the state and defence.