Ex-Scorpions boss denies paying and then reporting prosecutor for graft

DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach and advocate Willem van Zyl were part of a three-pronged team that failed to prosecute former Scorpions deputy head Geoffrey Ledwaba in 2006. /Thulani Mbele
DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach and advocate Willem van Zyl were part of a three-pronged team that failed to prosecute former Scorpions deputy head Geoffrey Ledwaba in 2006. /Thulani Mbele
Image: Thulani Mbele

A senior advocate in the National Prosecution Authority on Wednesday conceded that he had never heard of a suspect paying a prosecutor to sabotage a case and later reporting him to his superiors.

This came out during the trial of former Scorpions deputy head Geoffrey Ledwaba who is accused of corruption in the Johannesburg magistrate’s court.

Ledwaba, a disbarred advocate who is representing himself in this case, stands accused of fraud, obstruction of justice and corruption after he allegedly deposited R10,000 into advocate Willem Van Zyl’s bank account in a bid to weaken Ledwaba's theft and fraud trial days before it began in 2012.

At the time, Van Zyl had taken over the prosecution after advocate Glynnis Breytenbach was suspended by the National Prosecution Authority (NPA).

Ledwaba was acquitted of the 2012 trail after a lengthy and bruising court battle.

Leading Van Zyl through evidence, Ledwaba asked whether Van Zyl had ever heard of a scenario which entailed a suspect paying money to a prosecutor to weaken a case only to later report them to their superiors.

Van Zyl responded: “I am not aware of something like that. It's usually the other way around where a prosecutor will report it if an attempt is made to bribe them.”

According to the charge sheet, Ledwaba sent his employee and co-accused in the matter to deposit R10,000 into Van Zyl’s bank account.

Ledwaba allegedly called the NPA’s anti-corruption hotline and made a “false” report that Van Zyl was involved in “acts proscribed by provisions of the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Activities Act, 2004 (Act of 2004)”.

Ledwaba questioned Van Zyl about details contained on the deposit slip and of the recording of the call made to the anti-corruption hotline.

Ledwaba put it to Van Zyl that the opinion given by Len Jansen, the voice expert who testified that the voice in the recording was that of Ledwaba, was incorrect.

“I tried to get an expert of my own because I was not pleased with Jansen’s opinion. I called my contact in the FBI by the name of Michael Johnson, who said the theory given that I planted money in an account and reported it could not be true. He said you watch a lot of movies, Mr Van Zyl,” Ledwaba told the court.

Van Zyl retorted by saying: “All I know is that there was money deposited into my account and that I received a call a few days later [that] I was reported to the integrity management unit,” he said.

The matter was rolled over until Thursday for further testimony.

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