Former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks head Johan Booysen. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks head Johan Booysen. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

Edward Zuma approached former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks head Johan Booysen to release R15m frozen by the elite investigating unit as part of an investigation into businessman Thoshan Panday, the Mokgoro inquiry heard on Monday.

The controversial Panday is a close ally of Edward's father, former president Jacob Zuma. The money was part of a R60m deal the Hawks were investigating.

The details of this meeting were first revealed in Booysen’s book, Blood on Their Hands, published in 2016.

 Giving evidence before the Mokgoro commission of inquiry into the fitness to hold office of two senior National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) officials, Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi, Booysen said he believed the investigation into Panday led to him being charged with racketeering.

The charges brought against Booysen form part of the terms of reference of the inquiry, as adverse comments in court judgments have been made against Jiba, who was acting national director of public prosecutions at the time, on the decision. 

Both Jiba and Mrwebi, who heads the specialised commercial crimes unit are suspended. 

Former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Johan Booysen told the Mokgoro inquiry that he believes he was charged with racketeering because he got in the way of the business interests of former president Jacob Zuma’s son Edward.

Booysen told the inquiry that Edward had claimed to be Panday’s silent partner and that he wanted him to release the funds. Booysen said he  advised Edward to ask Panday to give him back the R900,000 investment that he had made and walk away. He said Zuma did not heed his advice.

Instead Booysen himself was arrested and charged with racketeering.

Jiba authorised the charges, which  were reviewed and set aside in a court. The charges were however reinstated by former national director of public prosecutions Shaun Abrahams. Booysen has taken this decision on review as well, but this is still before the courts.

Booysen maintained that Jiba used insufficient evidence to charge him, as the affidavits she had relied on did not implicate him in any crime.

Booysen was charged in August 2012 with managing and participating in an “enterprise” which related to what became known as the “Cato Manor death squad”.

Booysen said in his affidavit to the inquiry that Jiba “abrogated” her responsibilities  and “abused” her position to authorise his prosecution for “nefarious purposes”.

Jiba’s counsel Norman Arendse told the commission Booysen only wanted to use the platform provided by the inquiry to clear his name and deal with years of negative publicity.

Booysen however said he was not there for “theatre” or the media, as Arendse accused him of, but to assist the panel of the inquiry to come to an answer on Jiba’s fitness to hold office.