Department of justice hires legal eagles to nail state capture looters
Treasury sets aside R20m for four senior counsel to assist NPA, which will receive an additional R102m
Legal eagles Tembeka Ngcukaitobi‚ Wim Trengove‚ Ngwako Maenetje and Geoff Budlender have been briefed to help with the investigation and prosecution of state capture crimes.
The department of justice has allocated about R20m for their fees.
“Treasury [has given] approval to procure four senior counsel to guide investigations and oversee prosecutions‚” said department of justice spokesperson Chrispin Phiri. He said the advocates will be paid their going rate but their fees cannot exceed R5m each.
“The advocates will assist the NPA [National Prosecuting Authority] in their investigative work and where necessary with the actual prosecution of matters‚” Phiri said.
The Treasury has also agreed to allocate an additional R102m to the NPA. Of this‚ the Asset Forfeiture Unit will get R18m to build its capacity — seen as an effort to bolster the recovery of looted funds.
The Specialised Commercial Crime Unit will receive R7m, and safety‚ security and witness protection programmes R38m.
The investigative directorate of the NPA was allocated R38m to commence its work.
Earlier this year‚ President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed advocate Hermione Cronje to head the investigative directorate (ID) of the NPA to focus on state capture crimes.
The directorate was funded‚ but the national director of public prosecutions expressed concern at the lack of funding for the NPA.
Authorities in SA are working with the US to recover money looted by the Guptas, the Sunday Times reports. Money held in bank accounts in the US and even the UK by the Guptas may be seized.
NPA communication head Bulelwa Makeke said: “The services of these experienced advocates will be to assist the ID in their investigative work and where necessary‚ with the actual prosecution of matters.”