Hawks probe Noko, Maema over failed attempt to prosecute Johan Booysen
Durban - Former director of public prosecutions (DPP) in KwaZulu-Natal, advocate Moipone Noko and deputy director Sello Maema from North-West province are allegedly being investigated regarding their attempt to prosecute former head of the Hawks in KZN Johan Booysen and several other police officers for racketeering.
Noko is allegedly also facing an internal disciplinary inquiry, after National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Shamila Batohi appointed a four-advocate panel to review the decision to prosecute by former NPA boss Shaun Abrahams, who had acted on Noko and Maema’s presentation of alleged “new evidence” against Booysen and others which, according to the panel, did not exist.
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Malaudzi said the investigation in relation to possible charges of fraud and defeating the ends of justice was being “handled” by the Investigative Directorate within the NPA.
However, both Noko and Maema said this week they had no knowledge of the investigation and possible charges.
Noko is currently DPP in North West Province where Maema is also employed by the NPA.
“I don’t know about that,” Noko said.
Maema said he was not aware of the investigation and possible charges and that he had not seen the NPA’s confidential expert panel report which was leaked to the media regarding the Booysen matter.
“I have not seen it and I have to see it to be able to comment. I would’t like you to send it but if there is something the NPA wants me to comment on, they will send it,” he said.
A source who asked not to be named alleged that Noko was also facing an internal disciplinary inquiry regarding her conduct in relation to the matter.
NPA spokesperson Sipho Ngwema asked to comment on the allegation that Noko and Maema had fabricated evidence in their presentation to Abrahams and whether Noko was facing an internal inquiry said the NPA was sitting with “several” criminal dockets linked to the matter.
“The matters arising from the Booysen matter with regard to NPA personnel are subject to internal processes to get to the bottom of such issues. This process aligns to the NDPP’s commitment to restore the independence and credibility of the NPA. The Investigating Directorate (ID) of the NPA also has several criminal dockets relating to these matters,” he said. Noko and Maema presented a PowerPoint presentation to Abrahams, summarising evidence for the case against Booysen and several co-accused policemen to reinstate charges of racketeering against them in August 2015. Booysen had previously won his application in the Durban High Court to have earlier charges of racketeering regarding the same matter quashed in 2013.
Abrahams went ahead and authorised the re-prosecution of Booysen and the others in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act on the basis of Noko and Maema’s presentation.
Booysen again took the decision to prosecute him on review in the Durban High Court. Abrahams opposed the application.
However, when Batohi came into office in February 2019, she asked four senior advocates to review Abraham’s decision so that a decision could be made whether to continue opposing the review application.
In a statement released in August 2020, the NPA said Batohi had commissioned the panel to give an opinion on the legality of Abrahams’s decision, to authorise the racketeering prosecutions, and after reviewing the evidence had found that the charge “could not be substantiated and should be considered invalid”.
“After careful consideration, the NDPP decided to withdraw all racketeering charges. No findings were made on the murder and other charges, which were referred back to the DPP in KwaZulu-Natal for decision. On August 3, the DPP decided not to prosecute in any of the remaining charges as well,” the NPA said.
“The NPA is also engaging closely with the State Capture Commission that is investigating the NPA as an institution and individuals.”
Maema and Noko, in their written presentation to Abrahams, said there was no evidence against suspects shot and killed by Cato Manor police, while there was apparently “ample evidence against 24 of the 26 deceased” according to a source close to the investigations.
Booysen said this week he had filed a civil suit for damages against the State.
“The suit is for, inter alia, damages suffered to my dignity and for wrongful arrest. The reasoning is obvious: the State had no evidence to sustain a prosecution, yet went ahead to have me arrested wrongfully and proceeded with a malicious prosecution,” Booysen said.
He said the prosecution had meant he had been involved in eight court matters over the last nine years as he fought the case against him to prove his innocence.
He said the prosecutors, Noko and Maema, had procured Abrahams’s authority to prosecute him on “spurious charges”.
“My legal team will issue summonses by the end of September 2020. I am not at liberty to disclose the figure I am suing for,” Booysen said.