NPA warns against officials refusing to co-operate in corruption probes

Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions Rodney de Kock said some of the officials are refusing to cooperate with them. Picture: Jacques Naude/Independent Newspapers

Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions Rodney de Kock said some of the officials are refusing to cooperate with them. Picture: Jacques Naude/Independent Newspapers

Published Nov 23, 2023


Deputy National Directorate of Public Prosecutions Rodney de Kock has raised the alarm with the Standing Committee on Public Accounts on how senior officials in departments and State-Owned Entities (SOEs) refused to cooperate with prosecutors and give them documents to use in court.

De Kock said it was embarrassing that they have to run to court to obtain search and seizure warrants to obtain these documents to use as evidence in court.

He said when corruption and state capture cases are in court, judicial officers want original documents and when they go to departments and SOEs the doors are closed on them with officials refusing to co-operate and hand over these documents.

De Kock was briefing Scopa on investigations into state capture and corruption cases at SOEs, including Eskom, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) and provincial departments in the North West and Free State.

“There are still affidavits from Prasa that are still outstanding. We must emphasise that we are concerned that even today as we speak we often don’t get co-operation from employees of various SOEs,” said De Kock.

“It’s a concern that we have raised at the highest levels, including with the National Treasury to indicate that it cannot be that when we are busy with investigations of a serious nature that the doors of departments are not opened up.”

De Kock said there were several of these in court and they hope Scopa can intervene in getting senior officials to co-operate with the National Prosecuting Authority by handing over required documents for corruption cases.

He said prosecutors were working together with investigators in these cases.

There are several people that have been arrested for corruption at Eskom, Prasa and provincial departments.

“To the extent that the committee can assist us with that, that’s an important issue. It shouldn’t be that investigators have to run and get search and seizure orders. It’s difficult when you have to seize equipment and files of a department. What we want is the cooperation of the Director-General, we want the cooperation of the officials,” De Kock said.

“When the investigators come and ask for documents that should be made available to them. We are just emphasising that we are still struggling to get original documentation out of certain departments. The importance of the original documentation is that in court in order for us to prove cases the courts expect us to produce original documentation. Where we are not able to have original we have to lay a basis for admitting a copy of a document,” he said.

“It’s very difficult to do this unless we have proper co-operation from officials. To the extent that the committee can add its weight to this issue it will assist us to ensure that these investigations receive proper attention, get deserved speedy finalisation so that we can make decisions whether to prosecute and enrol these cases.”

The NPA has to prove each and every allegation made against an accused person in court. That is why having evidence in the form of documents was important.

The nature of the criminal justice system in South Africa was adversarial and the prosecution has to prove allegations made against accused persons unless the accused have made admissions.

But on corruption cases accused persons do not make admissions, said De Kock.

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