‘NPA pursued state’s narrative in Nulane prosecution,’ accused argue
The accused in the Nulane trial say the state stuck to a preset conclusion about how it conducted its investigation and prosecution in the matter
The accused in the Nulane trial have argued that the state stuck to a preset conclusion about how it conducted its investigation and prosecution in the matter.
Five of the six accused have made discharge applications in terms of section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act as they believe the state has no prospect of securing a conviction.
Mike Hellens, representing Gupta employee Ronica Ragavan and Islandsite, argued the state had a goal-orientated investigation and prosecution with an existing conclusion and investigated merely to prove their conclusion.
“It was not the investigation that produced the dots. They [the state] put the dots there,” Hellens argued.
He also argued there was no evidence put before court that his clients were involved in any misrepresentation aimed at prejudicing anyone, and they therefore cannot be linked to count 2 of fraud in which common purpose and deliberate misrepresentation have to be proven.
Kenny Oldwage, representing Dinesh Patel, told the court the state is “at sixes and sevens” in relation to a case against Patel.
“What we see is that there’s no iota of evidence to support the allegation for this common purpose [in relation to fraud],” Oldwage said
Bronwynne Forbay, representing Nulane director Iqbal Sharma, told the court: “The state didn’t follow any dots which didn’t speak to the state’s narrative.”
Daniel Mantsha, representing Peter Thabethe, former head of the Free State department of rural development, said the state followed a well-choreographed prosecution without following the NPA Act.
Mantsha said it was clear there were “certain predetermined conclusions”.
He also accused the NPA of deliberately “making false accusations” against Thabethe, only to agree with him that he is entitled to be discharged on one of the charges he has faced for more than two years.
The state will respond to the defence arguments on Friday.
Others in the dock are Limakatso Moorosi, former head of the Free State department of agriculture, and Seipati Dhlamini, the former provincial agriculture CFO who has opted to close her case.
The trial is under way.
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