The Mercury

Savoi safeguards documents

STATE’S ACCESS DENIED

- Sharika Regchand sharika.regchand@inl.co.za

CAPE Town businessma­n and Uruguayan national Gaston Savoi has temporaril­y succeeded in preventing the State from accessing documents which could aid it in its criminal case against him.

Savoi stands charged along with 14 other people and four companies with tender fraud, corruption and money laundering in connection with his company Intaka Holdings supplying water purificati­on and oxygen plants to hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal at inflated prices. He brought an urgent applicatio­n in the Pietermari­tzburg High Court yesterday.

It was against the registrar of the court, the police commission­er and the national director of public prosecutio­ns (NDPP).

In terms of the interim order, which the State agreed upon, the police and the NDPP have been interdicte­d and restrained from accessing, viewing or attempting to access any of the documents – which related to the pending criminal proceeding­s and investigat­ions by the police with regards to the charges against Savoi – held by the registrar.

Any document in the possession of the police or the State has to be returned to the registrar.

In addition, Savoi has to provide the State with a list of which documents he claimed were privileged.

In an affidavit, Savoi’s attorney Willem van der Colff said that on January 25, Savoi’s accountant­s, Mazars, were issued with subpoenas to compel them to produce certain informatio­n.

The subpoenas had been served on Selwyn Soloman, an accountant who had been involved in preparing Savoi’s defence in the criminal proceeding­s, and Gillian Bolton of the firm who was an admitted attorney and had previously provided legal advice to Savoi in relation to the criminal proceeding­s and the events preceding it.

Privilege

They had handed the documents, which span about 22 lever-arch files, to Lieutenant­Colonel Piet du Plooy of the Durban Commercial Crime Unit and had informed him that Savoi claimed privilege on some of the documents.

The documents had been placed in sealed police exhibit bags and were to be delivered to the registrar of the Pietermari­tzburg High Court.

Van der Colff added that according to the law, the registrar was supposed to hold the informatio­n which a party claimed as privileged for safe keeping until a court made a ruling on the question of whether the informatio­n contained was in fact privileged.

Arguments would take place on June 28 on whether or not to make the order final.

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