Fri Oct 21 11:21:55 SAST 2016

NPA admits seizure of Zuma papers illicit

By unknown | Jul 23, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Andrew Molefe and Waghied Misbach

Andrew Molefe and Waghied Misbach

The spectre of a Jacob Zuma presidency looms larger than ever before.

Zuma's presidential chances were boosted after his detractors fumbled in making charges against him stick.

The ANC deputy president and his supporters have always maintained that charges of corruption, as well as the earlier rape charge, were trumped up to deny him a fair run for the country's presidency.

In the past week the NPA prosecutor Wim Trengove admitted in papers at the Bloemfontein supreme court of appeal that illicit methods were used for the "search and seizure" process during the raid on the properties of the deputy president of the ANC.

More than 600 pages of documents have been exchanged between the national prosecuting authority (NPA), Jacob Zuma and Thint - the arms firm charged together with Zuma for alleged kick-backs on a multimillion-arms deal - at the supreme court of appeal in Bloemfontein.

Wim Trengove, acting for the NPA, has revealed that the state had through the NPA unleashed some 250 of its top investigators on Zuma, half of the total complement the Scorpions enjoys.

Even that small army of top-class lawyers and investigators failed to follow simple and legally required rules.

Trengove, himself, laid the blame squarely on Aubrey Mngwengwe, the investigating director of the Scorpions.

He alluded to the fact that Mngwengwe, despite half of the country's superior intelligence force and after searching some 21 premises associated with Zuma, made a serious mistake that led to the Scorpions returning the evidence.

"The appellants [NPA] conceded that there had been a technical defect in the execution of this warrant," he said.

University of KwaZulu Natal's Robin Palmer told Sowetan yesterday that even if he had not read the court documents, the fact is that the NPA had not followed the criteria of a search warrant.

"The documents seized would have to be returned."

This could mean that the evidence seized in those illegal raids is not permissible in court. It could also mean that any charges related to the illegal evidence seized would be quashed.

But Palmer added that it did not necessarily mean that Zuma would face less charges.

"In that situation the state might find it 'more difficult' to prove some of these charges."

He said Zuma might argue that the evidence seized prevents him from having a fair trial because the Scorpions had seen some of his documents.

But Palmer said Zuma would find it difficult to have the case thrown out of court.


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