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There might be more state capture arrests‚ says Abrahams

National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams.
National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams.

More people might be arrested in connection with state capture allegations‚ National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams said on Wednesday.

“The matter is still the subject of an investigation. If the investigation ultimately warrants that more people must be added as accused persons or be charged separately‚ then that process will take place‚” he said.

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.

Abrahams said there was prima facie evidence against those who have been charged.

Justice committee chairperson Dr Mathole Motshekga said they were unhappy with the feedback. The committees will set down a new date and will invite current 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 … The feeling is that we are not getting anywhere.”

Abrahams said the NPA will apply to have the suspects in state capture investigations extradited. However‚ this limited the cases in which the suspects can 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.”

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 their feet”.

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

Abrahams said the NPA does not selectively prosecute‚ and called claims that the NPA is captured “irresponsible”.

“I don’t make the decisions as to who should be arrested and who should not be arrested.”

Abrahams said in December the prosecutors were unhappy with the prima facie evidence to proceed.

Hawks head Matakata previously said the NPA hindered their investigation into the Estina dairy farm in Vrede by sitting on the docket for months. She also accused the NPA of sitting on other finalised state capture investigations.

Matakata backtracked on these remarks on Wednesday.

“The work of the DPCI (Hawks) was never hindered by the NPA … There was a hindering in that context of people taken to court‚ but not necessarily that [the] NPA hindered the work of the DPCI (Hawks).”

Times Select reported the fight between the Hawks and NPA over state capture investigations and blew the lid on 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. 

Sources said the pair left the country as the NPA delayed giving the go-ahead for the arrests.

Hawks investigators then decided to publicise the arrest warrants. They hoped the duo would believe they were not wanted and could return to South Africa.

The Gupta brothers 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.

The Sunday Times reported last month that Atul casually walked into the South African consulate in Dubai seeking to certify court papers in his application to set aside a preservation order obtained by the Asset Forfeiture Unit‚ which reveals that he personally received R10-million illegally from the Estina dairy project.

- Additional reporting by Qaanitah Hunter

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