Friday, 21 January 2011

Petition for Urgent Investigation into Custom Official's Murder

On the morn of murdered Warrant Officer Johan Nortje’s funeral today supporters of the Afro-IP community are calling for an urgent special investigation into Inspector Nortje’s murder by the Police Organised Crime Unit, with the involvement of Interpol and the World Customs Organisation. (see earlier posts here and here)

Supporters of this petition please use the voting poll alongside and/or comment in the section below.
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“This is really terrible and I think this blog should petition the IP Community to support an urgent special investigation with all 
assistance from Interpol and WCO. The effects are dire for future
 enforcement as it will drive good cops and customs officials away from 
doing their jobs.” Marilyn Krige (MKIPWORKS)
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“If, as suspected, this link is established his death should dispel the myth that counterfeiting is a victimless crime. We join the call for an urgent special investigation.” Bowman Gilfillan's Brand Enforcement and Anti-Counterfeiting Group (see full statement below in the testimonies)
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“This incident has created concerns, amongst others, that reliable and dependable officers (i.e. SAPS, Customs, DTI and CCU) will be derailed from doing their work without fear. For this and, other reasons, the concerns should be addressed to avoid future border enforcement from being severely compromised. We believe that these circumstances call for an urgent special investigation into Inspector Nortje’s murder by the Police Organised Crime Unit, with the involvement of Interpol and the World Customs Organisation.” Adams & Adams' Anti-Counterfeiting Team (see full statement below in the testimonies)
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DM Kisch anti-counterfeiting team is shocked and deeply saddened by the untimely death of Inspector Johan Nortje, who was so dedicated to the fight against anti-counterfeiting. We have worked together with Johan Nortje for many years and his enthusiasm, dedication, professionalism and pride to his work cannot in anyway be faulted.  He will be sorely missed and the team wishes to extend our heartfelt condolences to his family friends and work colleagues.  DM Kisch Inc supports an urgent special investigation into Inspector Nortje’s murder”
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The Managing Director of "Cabinet ISIS” and staff was deeply shocked to learn of the death of Officer Jacobus Nortje. ...., we support the calls for an urgent investigation (with the assistance of the WCO and Interpol) into the death of Officer Nortje
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We support the calls for a thorough investigation into Mr Nortje's death, and in particular into the allegations that his death came as a direct result of his role in tackling anti-counterfeiting activities in South Africa.  Enforcement officers must be free to do their work without fear of death, injury or intimidation. The IBML Trade Marks and Anti-Counterfeiting Team - see full statement below
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The incident has lead to notes of condolence including a post on leading IP blog IPKAT and by law firms mentioned above: 

"Please spare a thought for the family and friends of Johan Nortje, a senior South African customs investigator who, having enjoyed considerable success in the fight against the tidal wave of counterfeits, has been murdered amid fears that the gangs who smuggle unlawful goods into the country are targeting enforcement officers -- or at least the ones who are (i) effective and (ii) don't accept bribes. Next time anyone starts telling you that IP infringement is just an economic crime and doesn't really hurt anyone, you can remind them that the name of Johan Nortje has been added to the list of human fatalities, along with those unnamed souls who are poisoned by fake medications or malnourished through worthless infant formula or maimed through accidents resulting from the malfunction of counterfeit mechanical parts." (IPKAT)
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Testimony to the work of Johan Nortje from law firms:

“Adams & Adams’ Anti-Counterfeiting Team is deeply saddened by the abrupt passing away of Inspector Johan Nortje. Our concern is exacerbated by the speculations that he was murdered for being an excellent and dedicated Police official. 
 

We worked and interacted with Inspector Nortje for many years in relation to anti-counterfeiting matters and we can attest to the fact that he was dedicated and committed to the eradication of counterfeit and other illicit goods being imported into the Republic of South Africa and fought the proliferation of the scourge of these goods in this country. He demonstrated exceptional investigative qualities and outstanding moral standards. His passing is an enormous loss, not only to his family, but to the South African government enforcement community at large.

Adams & Adams is grateful for his invaluable contribution, which led to numerous successful prosecutions of offenders in the past.

This incident has created concerns, amongst others, that reliable and dependable officers (i.e. SAPS, Customs, DTI and CCU) will be derailed from doing their work without fear. For this and, other reasons, the concerns should be addressed to avoid future border enforcement from being severely compromised.

We believe that these circumstances call for an urgent special investigation into Inspector Nortje’s murder by the Police Organised Crime Unit, with the involvement of Interpol and the World Customs Organisation.” 
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"Bowman Gilfillan's Anti-Counterfeiting Group was shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the death of Warrant Officer Jacobus Nortje earlier this week. The passion and enthusiasm with which he applied himself, was a daily testament to the personal pride he took in doing a very difficult job, well.  He was a wonderful ally to the anti-counterfeiting community, always willing to assist - often before his help had even been requested. His professionalism and integrity will be sorely missed. We support the calls for an urgent investigation (with the assistance of the WCO and Interpol) into the death of W/O Nortje, especially since it has been linked to his vital role in the fight against counterfeit goods entering South Africa through Durban harbour. If, as suspected, this link is established his death should dispel the myth that counterfeiting is a victimless crime. 


Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family and law enforcement colleagues. 


We join the call for an urgent investigation."
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PUMA´s International Brand Protection Team learnt with shock about the tragic passing away of Warrant Officer J.J Nortje.

In the short time that we have known him, he distinguished himself as a dedicated member of the South African Police Service (SAPS).  In him, we had hope that the battle against Counterfeiting will eventually be won.

Mr Nortje was forever willing to assist and like a true warrior, he was always in the forefront of the battle against Counterfeiting. His qualities are there to be copied by the new generation of officers in the South African Police Service.

On behalf of PUMA AG Rudolf Dassler Sport and PUMA South Africa we would like to convey our heartfelt condolences to his family, the South African Police Service and South Africa at large.

The South African Border Police has lost a true Servant and he would truly be missed. 

Sincerely yours,
Neil Narriman

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Neil Narriman
Senior Brand Protection Manager
 - Legal Department -
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"The IBML Trade Marks and Anti-Counterfeiting Team were shocked and saddened to learn of the murder of South African customs officer Inspector Jacobus Nortje.  We support the calls for a thorough investigation into Mr Nortje's death, and in particular into the allegations that his death came as a direct result of his role in tackling anti-counterfeiting activities in South Africa.  Enforcement officers must be free to do their work without fear of death, injury or intimidation.  Our condolences go out to Mr Nortje's family, friends and colleagues at this sad time."

Cameron Olsen - Head of Legal IBML (ed - responsible for the worldwide management of brands including Dunlop, Slazenger, Lonsdale, Karrimor, Sports Direct and others)

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

We, Enforcement Officers, around the World shall never wane from our fight against illegal counterfeiting and will continue to protect legitimate businesses and consumers from such criminal operations. I support the calls for a thorough investigation into Mr. Nortje's death, and in particular into the allegations that his death came as a direct result of his role in tackling anti-counterfeiting activities. We always have another investigator willing to pick up the case and hunt the criminals down to stop their illegal activities. We take further strength from such a senseless act should the allegations be true. Whoever planned this, be afraid. You may sleep, we don't.

Sander Bakker said...

Mr Nortje has been one of our greatest allies in the fight against counterfeiting and a true friend of all involved in brand protection in South Africa. At KIWI we cherish the memory of this inspirational police officer and the valuable work he has been doing to prevent fakes from entering the African Markets. I feel we have rarely come across a more dedicated enforcement officer in Africa or elsewhere. He was a shining example to his colleagues in SAPS and beacon of hope for us in the industry. May he rest in peace!

I can only rally behind the outcry for a full investigation into the circumstances of his tragic passing. South Africa has lost a great man and we have lost a good friend. We will support all the police officers at SAPS, all those that he trained or worked with, in their efforts to uphold everything Mr Nortje stood for.

Our condolences to his family, friends and colleagues; May we treasure all that he has brought us and saviour his memory.

Sander Bakker (Global Brand Protection Manager KIWI Shoe Care)

Clinton Nortje said...

It is sad that as a family that the Case is now been withdrawn. We had to find out this on our own. The police force has not contacted us since they glorified their names in the papers saying they have caught the culprits. I fear that the Saps and Government do not care about the family's that lose there loved ones and further more do not care about their jobs. If Johan Nortje didn't care he would still be alive today to be around to see his Grand daughter that he never met.

Clinton Nortje said...

Can anyone do a private investigation.

Darren said...

Clinton, please can call me to discuss this when you get a chance. It sounds distressing (0716065544) Thanks Darren