Savoi safeguards documents
STATE’S ACCESS DENIED
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.
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.