One of the Western Cape's top cops on Monday denied that he was the voice in a recording allegedly soliciting a bribe from Cape Town underworld figure Nafiz Modack.
Major General Jeremy Vearey, in a statement, said he had lodged a complaint with the Press Ombudsman following the publication of an article in the Sunday Times.
Its online platform, TimesLive, had published a recording it claimed was a conversation between Vearey and a Mohamedaly Hanware regarding the return of confiscated guns that belong to Modack - referred to as "roses" and "olive trees" - for R40 000, called four packets of "biltong", the report alleged.
Modack lodged a complaint with the police in April, alleging that Vearey and "his gang" were extorting money from him.
Vearey, a former Umkhonto we Sizwe operative, on Monday denied that it was him on the recording.
"The caller refers to a 'G' and not 'V', but in their transcription they make it 'V' to identify me as 'Maj-Gen Jeremy Vearey'," he charged.
Vearey said he had received an email from the reporter, including the allegation that he was part of the ANC Western Cape provincial conference's election campaign ahead of the May elections and, "when they fell out of favour resulting in their disbandment, so did you".
"I deny the above and regard it as gutter aspersions. However, innuendo in the Sunday Times article in reference to me, [Anti-Gang Unit head Andre Lincoln] and Lieutenant General Peter Jacobs as part of 'a clique of coloured stalwarts', who were 'controversial figures for several years', is indicative of a much more divisive racist agenda peddled by the Sunday Times in their article."
According to the article, Modack lodged a complaint with the police in April. He and his bodyguards had driven to the scene where the bodyguard of alleged gang boss Colin Booysen was murdered in Belhar in September last year.
There, Modack and his men were reportedly arrested and briefly held at Ravensmead police station. Upon their release, their confiscated guns had not been returned.
This is ostensibly what led to the recorded conversation, according to the report.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila confirmed to News24 that the docket had been sent to SAPS' Anti-Corruption Unit by the director for public prosecutions in the Western Cape for further investigation.
Vearey, a favourite to take over as Western Cape police commissioner after the transfer of Khombinkosi Jula to KwaZulu-Natal, had lodged an official complaint with police commissioner Kehla Sitole after he failed to make the shortlist for the province's top job.
According to his letter, this was supposedly because he had allegedly not included proof of his qualifications.
But the Sunday Times quoted a source close to the selection process as saying that Vearey had not made the shortlist as he did not meet the minimum requirements.
Police did not respond to requests for comment.