More state capture arrests loom

National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams
Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/ Reuters

Matter still being probed, prosecutions director tells portfolio committees

More people might be arrested in connection with state capture allegations‚ National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams said yesterday. “The matter is still the subject of an investigation,” he said.

“If the investigation ultimately warrants that more people must be added as accused persons or be charged separately‚ then that process will take place.”

Abrahams was addressing parliament’s portfolio committees on justice and police in a combined sitting in Cape Town‚ along with Hawks head Lieutenant-General Yolisa Matakata.

He said there was prima facie evidence against those who had been charged.

Justice committee chairman Dr Mathole Motshekga said they were unhappy with the feedback.

The committees will set down a new date and invite Police Minister Bheki Cele‚ former police minister Fikile Mbalula and Justice Minister Michael Masutha.

“When we came here‚ we wanted to identify stumbling blocks‚ obstacles‚ and help to remove them so that the DPCI [Hawks] and NPA [National Prosecuting Authority] can go and ensure that there is action that is credible,” Motshekga said.

“The feeling is that we are not getting anywhere.” Abrahams said the NPA would apply to have the suspects in state capture investigations extradited.

However‚ this limited the cases in which the suspects could be heard.

“If‚ for example‚ we apply for the extradition of suspects in the Estina matter‚ then we are only bound to try them in respect of the Estina matter and we can’t charge them in respect of other matters they are potentially linked to,” he said.

Abrahams and Matakata were summoned to appear in parliament following allegations that the NPA was hindering the Hawks’ investigations of state capture.

Abrahams denied this and said the prosecuting authority did not drag its feet.

“Ordinarily‚ matters of this nature take an extremely long time to investigate and sometimes even years to prosecute.”

He said the NPA did not selectively prosecute and claims that the NPA was captured were irresponsible.

“I don’t make the decisions as to who should be arrested and who should not be arrested.” Abrahams said that in December the prosecutors had been unhappy with the prima facie evidence to proceed.

Hawks head Matakata previously said that the NPA had hindered their investigation into the Estina dairy farm in Vrede by sitting on the docket for months.

She also accused it of sitting on other finalised state capture investigations.

However, Matakata backtracked on these remarks yesterday.

“The work of the [Hawks] was never hindered by the NPA,” she said.

“There was a hindering in that context of people taken to court‚ but not necessarily that [the] NPA hindered the work of the [Hawks].”

Times Select previously reported the fight between the Hawks and NPA over state capture investigations and how the Hawks were forced not to announce a warrant of arrest for Atul Gupta and his brother, Rajesh, in a bid to lure them back into the country.

They are wanted on charges of fraud and corruption in relation to Estina.

Ajay is further wanted for allegedly offering a bribe to former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas in 2015.

The Hawks insist they were ready to pounce on the Guptas before they left the country‚ but the NPA was tardy in dealing with the docket that was signed off in November. – Additional reporting by Qaanitah Hunter – TimesLIVE

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