Prosecutor Andre Bouwers, who prosecuted former head of the Presidential Investigation Task Unit (Pitu) Andre Lincoln 17 years ago, said he had enough evidence to mount a successful prosecution against Lincoln him.
Now Lincoln is suing the state for R15 million for his wrongful prosecution on 47 charges of fraud and corruption.
One matter under question was whether or not witnesses in the case against Lincoln were pressured by investigating officers, or Bouwers himself, to give testimony.
Under questioning by State attorney Craig Webster on whether witnesses were pressured, Bouwers responded: “The unit thought it was a witch-hunt, so they lied."
Webster went further by asking: “Did you place witnesses under pressure to lie?"
“No we did not. We explained to the witnesses that they were under oath and the consequences of lying, but never to lie, the purpose of that was for them to tell the truth.”
The other issue in question by Lincoln’s attorney, Johan Nortje, was why the prosecution ultimately decided to go to trial.
“We had good dockets to take the matter to court,” said Bouwers.
Bouwers further explained that there was a dispute between himself and fellow prosecutor “Mr Ebrahim”.
Ebrahim did not want to go to court, he was afraid that Lincoln could sue.
The two then decided to make representation to then national director of public prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka, so he could make the final decision.
Ebrahim’s position was taken over by Donald Jacobs, who along with Bouwers went ahead to make representations of their cases to Ngcuka.
“We wrote our heads of argument, and we were then called to Ngcuka to argue before him. He (Ngcuka) then made the final decision to go to court,” said Lincoln.
Bouwers further testified that: “Lincoln being framed was an allegation made from day one. Everyone was shouting it, so we were aware, but it just made us more careful.
“We made sure that we had a case and the evidence we had was proper on every single count.”
The trial continues today.