Durban - Months of behind-the-scenes investigations by the NPA’s Investigating Directorate (ID) has led to the arrests of a number of senior ranking government and police officials implicated in investigations into tender fraud and state capture.
The ID has investigating and prosecuting powers and can carry out arrests without the knowledge of either the South African Police Service or the Hawks (the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation).
In the latest arrest, four people, including a former provincial SAPS commissioner appeared in the Durban Magistrate's Court in connection with a R47 million tender for police accommodation during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
The former KZN top cop, Mmamonnye Ngobeni, along with Durban businessman Thoshan Panday and two police officers Ashwin Narainpershad and Navin Madhoe, are due back in court soon. The matter got underway after a decade of apparent interference and intimidation.
This is just one of several high profile cases which the ID has been working on where the wheels of justice were finally able to turn without fear or favour.
The ID was launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2019 and has been mandated to investigate, prosecute and make arrests at high levels within the public and private sector, investigate corruption within State Owned Enterprises and investigate corruption within the security sector.
The ID was launched following a series of shocking corruption revelations made through the Zondo Commission into allegations of state capture and other smaller commissions looking into corruption within government and other offices.
"In a nutshell, in effecting our investigating and or making arrests, we use the services of specially assigned police officers loaned to us by the National Police Commissioner as well as the Hawks who are under the command of Advocate Hermione Cronje.
“So when we arrest, we do not do it with the Hawks or SAPS but we do it as the ID," said ID spokesperson, Sindisiwe Twala.
She said that as a professional courtesy, the ID has access to the resources of their law enforcement counterparts.
Twala said although the Zondo Commission had not yet handed its recommendations as it is still ongoing, Ramaphosa sought to set up the ID to investigate and prosecute in high profile corruption cases.
"In a normal course of events, the police or Hawks will investigate and then hand over the docket to the National Prosecuting Authority but with the ID, we do the investigating and prosecuting on our own," she said.
Twala said the ID gets most of its work from commissions.
"After people have testified at these commissions, we then look at some of the testimonies then have to decipher if there is a strong enough case. Whatever is delivered at the commission has to go through a rigorous test before it can be admissible in a court of law," she said.
According to Twala, the ID, which has a five-year mandate, has a number of high profile cases which are in various courts at the moment.
One of the cases involves former Crime Intelligence boss Richard Mdluli, Solly Lazarus and Hein Barnard who allegedly defrauded a SAPS slush fund. The men allegedly used the monies meant for safe houses and funding for SAPS for personal gain.
Another case, Twala said, related to former National Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane, who was linked to a tender worth R86m for SAPS equipment.
The ID has also effected the arrest of former MP Vincent Smith, who was charged with corruption and fraud related to financial dealings with Bosasa.