New NPA unit to study offences arising from inquiries into Sars, PIC and state capture
Through the establishment of the directorate, Cyril Ramaphosa has intensified the state’s campaign against corruption and state capture, the presidency says
The National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) new investigative directorate will not only deal with revelations from the commission of inquiry into state capture, but also with offences that arise out of the commissions of inquiry into both the SA Revenue Service (Sars) and the Public Investment Corporation (PIC).
This is according to a proclamation President Cyril Ramaphosa signed on Tuesday and submitted to parliament on Wednesday. Ramaphosa made the fight against corruption and restoring credibility to the NPA priorities when he took over from Jacob Zuma.
The directorate will also deal with the common-law offences of fraud, forgery and uttering, theft and “any offences involving dishonesty”. It will also deal with statutory offences, as well as any “serious, high-profile or unlawful activities” that include, but are not limited to, those being revealed in evidence given at the commissions.
The proclamation, which is expected to be gazetted on Friday, officially establishes the directorate Ramaphosa promised during his state of the nation speech in February. The directorate will reside in the office of the national director of public prosecutions (NDPP), Shamila Batohi.
The presidency said on Tuesday that it was a priority proclamation, which it wanted to submit to parliament before it closed for the fifth administration on Wednesday. In the proclamation, specific reference is made to the Zondo, Nugent and Mpati commissions of inquiry as part of what the new investigative directorate would be looking at.
The presidency said in a statement on Wednesday that Ramaphosa has intensified the government’s campaign against corruption and state capture by signing the proclamation establishing the directorate.
The directorate will also be able to take on any other serious, high profile or complex corruption cases that are referred to it by the NDPP.
Up for investigation
The state-capture inquiry, headed by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, is hearing allegations of state capture for private interests by, among others, the controversial Gupta family and facilities management company Bosasa. It has until 2020 to complete its work.
Retired judge Robert Nugent, who submitted his final report to Ramaphosa in 2018, is looking at the destruction at Sars under the leadership of former commissioner Tom Moyane, who was fired by Ramaphosa on Nugent’s recommendation.
Nugent’s final report includes recommendations that the NDPP institute criminal proceedings in connection with the awarding of a multimillion-rand contract to global consultancy firm Bain.
The inquiry into impropriety at the PIC is chaired by retired judge Lex Mpati, who is still hearing evidence.
The statutory offences that the directorate is likely to investigate include those that fall under the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities Act, the Public Finance Management Act, the Municipal Finance Management Act, the Financial Intelligence Centre Act and any statutory offences involving dishonesty.
The directorate will also be able to take on any other serious, high profile or complex corruption cases which are referred to it by the NDPP.