Get IOL's cool new iPad app...
A massive anti-corruption team worked until late on Tuesday executing a search-and-seizure operation at Auction Alliance premises across SA.
The anti-corruption task team, led by the Hawks, also descended on 13 premises including offices and homes owned by Auction Alliance on Wednesday morning.
The company hit back by saying it was considering taking on the task team and going to the courts to have the warrants overturned as they were “issued unlawfully and unconstitutionally and in flagrant violation of Auction Alliance’s rights”.
Auction Alliance has become a shell of its former self, with many of their offices taken over by other companies and acting CEO Bruce Sneddon leaving.
Hawks spokesman McIntosh Polela said the anti-corruption task team, made up of the Hawks, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and Sars, were investigating allegations of kickbacks and corruption.
“We are doing an investigation into allegations of kickbacks and corruption, it stems from the much reported allegations that started with the [Quoin Rock] auction in the Western Cape,” said Polela.
He added that the massive team had been divided up and were at five premises in the Western Cape and Gauteng, and one each in Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein and KZN.
NPA spokesman Eric Ntabazalila said their involvement had been to ensure that all legalities were followed during the searches. He said they had been approached by the police to assist with the search warrants.
“The matter has not been referred to us yet for a decision as it is still at an investigation stage,” Ntabazalila said.
Speaking on behalf of Auction Alliance, attorney Ian Small-Smith said: “The warrants which they used are ‘overbroad’.
Auction Alliance will consider their legal position. I believe they will go to court and have the raids set aside.”
He said they had informed the Hawks that they intended to apply have the warrants overturned, and suggested that they not yet examine any evidence seized.
“We have asked for an undertaking that they will not investigate until we have approached the High Court, and that they investigate at their own peril.” - Cape Argus