Johannesburg - The Mail & Guardian was surprised by the Hawks's “turnaround” regarding the raiding of NPA staff members' residences, its deputy editor Moshoeshoe Monare said on Friday.
According to the paper, hours before President Jacob Zuma announced an inquiry into National Prosecuting Authority head Mxolisi Nxasana’s fitness to hold office, several residences of NPA employees were raided by the Hawks last Friday.
“I am concerned about professionalism at the Hawks. Paul (Ramaloko), when he spoke to our reporters, said 'we raided some houses',” he told Eyewitness News.
“Paul today says 'we opened a case' but later says no one has been charged, and he says the raid involved money... but look at the warrant, it does not say anything about money.”
The M&G claimed to have seen a draft of the warrant which it quoted as saying that the Hawks had the power to seize “any document that would hold reference to the business of the NPA, any documentation that would hold reference to the business of other government departments indicating business with the NPA.”
It also directed to the Hawks to confiscate “any documents, indicating that they hold reference to any court applications, police case files, or other law enforcement agencies who would have an expectation that the documents, if at (the) private residence, would never have been disclosed to unknown parties such as the individuals, the witness has described in his affidavit.”
The Hawks also had orders to take “any bags, files or envelopes that would fit the description of that what was used by the witness to conceal the documents when removed from the NPA building; and any storage device, such as computer hard drives, compact discs, memory sticks, that has the capacity to store data which might be the property of the NPA.”
The raid was believed to be a frantic search for the controversial Zuma spy tapes, according to the report.
The so-called spy tapes, transcripts and other documents, relate to a 2009 NPA decision to drop corruption charges against Zuma.
In response to the M&G's report, Hawks spokesman Ramaloko told Sapa earlier that the raid had nothing do with the so-called spy tapes.
Only one house was raided following the Hawks obtaining a search warrant to follow up on corruption allegations, he said.
Ramaloko later told Eyewitness News that the corruption allegations were over money.
Monare said the warrant, details of which the newspaper published, did not say anything about money.
“If it was a question of money, it would not have been the Hawks's case, but that of the police.”
When asked why the police did not take over a criminal case that involved money, Ramaloko said the employee's case was a “serious and heavy corruption” case that the Hawks received information on.
“Check our operational mandate on the website. Our mandate as the Hawks is to investigate serious corruption. When a person comes to us with allegations, we do background checks and go obtain a warrant if the need arises,” he said.
The NPA was not informed about the raid, he said.
“We did not interact with them... we had no obligation to inform the NPA about the raid.”
Last week, the presidency announced that Zuma had ordered an inquiry into Nxasana's fitness to hold office.
The presidency said the decision to institute the inquiry was made in terms of Section 12(6)(a)(iv) of the NPA Act 32 of 1998.
It emerged last month that former justice minister Jeff Radebe had reportedly asked Nxasana to resign because he had failed to disclose that he was charged with murder and acquitted in 1985.
The raid was a “panicky” attempt by Nxasana to get the recordings before Zuma suspended him, reported the Mail & Guardian.