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Adv Hermione Theresa Cronje to head state capture investigations

Advocate Hermione Theresa Cronje
Advocate Hermione Theresa Cronje

President Cyril Ramaphosa has officially appointed Advocate Hermione Theresa Cronje as head of the Investigating Directorate in the Office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions.

This follows the president making a commitment in March that Investigating Directorate will address allegations emerging from the commissions of inquiry and corruption-related crimes.

The commission of inquiry into State Capture, Public Investment Corporation and other commissions have heard of contract rigging and influence peddling by a number of individuals and companies including the Guptas and the Watson family.

Ramaphosa issued the proclamation on the recommendation of the justice and police ministers as well as NPA head, Shamila Batohi.

The new directorate will investigate offences including fraud, forgery, uttering, theft and any offence involving dishonesty.

"President Ramaphosa has in terms of Section 13(1)(b) read with Section 14 of the National Prosecuting Authority Act appointed Advocate Cronje as an Investigating Director for a period of five years with effect from 15 May 2019.

"In addition, the directorate will investigate any unlawful activities relating to serious, high-profile or complex corruption including but not limited to offences or criminal or unlawful activities arising from current commissions and enquiries," the presidency said in a statement on Friday.

According to the Presidency, Advocate Cronje has a master's in public administration from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government which she obtained in 2010; a bachelor of arts in 1993 and LLB from the University of Cape Town which she received in 1996.

From 1998 to 2012, she was employed in various capacities in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) of South Africa as an assistant to the first National Director of Public Prosecutions and then later as founding member of the Asset Forfeiture Unit.

Furthermore she has been the Regional Head of the Asset Forfeiture Unit in the Western Cape for 10 years. The Presidency cites that in Cronje's last year in the NPA, she was involved in the establishment of the Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT), a multi-agency task team established to investigate, prosecute and recover the assets of persons involved in large-scale corruption.

"Since 2013, Adv Cronje has been engaged as a consultant on behalf of the Stolen Assets Recovery Initiative - a joint initiative of the World Bank and UNODC.

"In this capacity she has worked as an advisor and mentor to asset recovery and anti-corruption units in Tanzania, Uganda, Namibia, Kenya, Nigeria, Romania, Ukraine, Moldova and Sri Lanka. She is also a practising advocate of the High Court of South Africa.

This is what she will be looking into in her new role:

• The Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act 6 of 2000;

• The Prevention of Organised Crime Act 121 of 1988;

• The Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities Act 33 of 2004;

• The Public Finance Management Act 1 of 1999;

• The Municipal Management Act 56 of 2003;

• The Financial Intelligence Centre Act 38 of 2001; and• any other statutory offence involving dishonesty.

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