NPA report flags ‘suspiciously withdrawn’ cases

A National Prosecuting Authority report has red-flagged court cases that have been “suspiciously withdrawn” in the Eastern Cape.
A National Prosecuting Authority report has red-flagged court cases that have been “suspiciously withdrawn” in the Eastern Cape.
Image: SUPPLIED

A National Prosecuting Authority report has red-flagged court cases that have been suspiciously withdrawn in the Eastern Cape — including a hit-and-run accident involving a senior state prosecutor’s son.

Documents in the matter of the senior state advocate’s son, which are crucial to the outcome of the case, are also missing — but the investigation, done by the NPA’s advocate Luvuyo Bono, cleared the young man’s mother and his employer of any wrongdoing.

The young man, who cannot be named because his mother could not be contacted on Tuesday, is accused of knocking down a pedestrian in King William’s Town before being arrested near Peddie in 2019.

His case was postponed for further investigation but the docket never went back to court — which Bono questions in his report.

Bono also investigated allegations of racism, nepotism, favouritism and discrimination in NPA offices in East London, Port Elizabeth and Komani. He found the allegations were unsubstantiated.

On Monday, Bono met with NPA top brass prosecutors at an East London hotel to present the findings.

Bono cleared the former acting director of public prosecutions after she had been accused of interfering in her son’s case.

There was no statement of the complainant,” Bono’s report said.

“In the docket there was a lot missing.

“There was no sketch plan and there was no J88 [medical record] and the docket was not enrolled as per procedure and on this basis, she sent the docket back for investigation, but the docket has never come back to court.

I have not found anything wrong done by [the senior advocate] or any NPA official.

“What I am concerned about is the fact that this docket has not come back for trial.

On withdrawn cases, Bono said “a number of cases were raised as having been suspiciously withdrawn”.

He said the investigators had been advised that there was no defined process for cases that get withdrawn for further investigation to come back to court.

Much depends on the investigator when he has completed the investigation to bring the docket back for [a] decision.

This is a massive gap in the system because almost all dockets that have been identified as problematic, including [the senior advocate] son’s docket, the last that seems to have happened with them was when they were sent back for further investigation, and they seem not to find their way back to court,” Bono said.

The probe also found relations between prosecutors and bosses at the NPA’s East London offices was polarised and fragmented to such an extent  that a relationship-building exercise needed to take place before the end of December.

We are all impressed with Bono’s report. He was meticulous, extensive, fair and sensible

The prosecuting authority’s East London management, Bono said, also needed to undergo capacity building on management issues, including communication, personal leadership development and conflict management.

On the issue of racism, Bono said: “A lot of racist allegations were made regarding the actions by management.

“What appeared difficult was that most of the conduct complained of also benefited some black officials, and in that case, it would be difficult to classify such conduct as racist.

Bono’s investigation also focused on cases relating to management’s alleged interference in prosecutors’ private cases, and the process of appointing aspirant prosecutors.

NPA spokesperson Sipho Ngwema said the prosecuting authority had presented the report to prosecutors to discuss the issues Bono had raised.

We are all impressed with Bono’s report. He was meticulous, extensive, fair and sensible

We are all impressed with Bono’s report. He was meticulous, extensive, fair and sensible.

“He investigated [the] credibility of every allegation and allegations of racism could not be substantiated.

Indeed, there were inconsistencies with regards to application of certain policies, which gave the impression that there was favouritism.

“These will be followed up and corrected where people were prejudiced.

This process exposed such gaps and there’s an implementation plan to effect recommendations with immediate effect, Ngwema said.

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