Despite claiming his son’s police radio was never confiscated, an SMS sent by Primedia head of news and current affairs Yusuf Abramjee to national police commissioner Riah Phiyega tells a different story.
Abramjee, who took The Citizen to the Press Ombudsman for publishing a story detailing how Phiyega ordered the confiscation of the police radio in his son’s possession, said in his complaint to the ombudsman that the radio was never confiscated and was still in his son’s possession. To prove this, Abramjee sent photos of the radio alongside a dated newspaper to the ombudsman.
The Press Ombudsman has since dismissed his complaint. Abramjee remains adamant the radio was never confiscated. His son is a police reservist in the national investigation unit led by divisional commissioner of detectives Lieutenant-General Vineshkumar Moonoo.
When The Citizen confronted him about an SMS he sent to Phiyega in which he seemingly complains that the radio was taken away from his son, Abramjee confirmed sending the SMS. However, he said it was sent after he got wind of a rumour that someone was threatening to confiscate the radio in his son’s possession.
But the SMS seems to make it clear the radio was in fact confiscated. This is what he wrote: “I believe Solomon has instructed detectives to take my son’s [name withheld] police radio and tracker radio away today after almost being killed yesterday in the shootout with police killers. The radios were taken away.
“They claim he is giving me info. This is nothing more than blatant misinformation. My son has one of the most successes and he risks his life for our country as a reservist. Look at his successes. They are breaking the morale of youngsters and permanent members of that successful unit-NINU. Solomon and co are using dirty tricks and I have heard enough.”
But in his response to The Citizen, he said: “Yes, weeks before your report, I directed my concerns to the national commissioner about allegations that reached my ears of dirty tricks against my family and I. This included a rumour that someone was ‘threatening’ to confiscate my son’s police radio, because he was allegedly passing on information to me.”
He added that Phiyega had replied that she would arrange a meeting for “us with other relevant stakeholders in Saps”. “It is within my rights to take up any matter that concerns the safety of my family and I. Of course I took exception to the outrageous allegations. Might I add that Phiyega’s office never contacted me to engage on these issues. I stand by what I said. I am not aware of the radio having been taken away. My son remains in legal possession of the radio.”
Abramjee also demanded that The Citizen publish a report he said claimed cleared his son of all allegations of wrongdoing. His demand was turned down because the report he circulated to newspapers said nothing about the police radio. It only addressed allegations of a conflict of interest as Abramjee’s son works full-time for a security company while serving as a police reservist.
Asked about the outcome of an investigation into how the police radio landed up in the hands of Abramjee’s son when he was not on duty, police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said the report was confidential.
He added: “This matter was dealt with extensively following your initial request. We maintain that the radio was indeed withdrawn from the reservist prior to your initial enquiry.
“Since then the reservist is allowed access and use of the radio when he reports on duty.”