NPA, Zuma foundation cross swords over graft case

NPA, Zuma foundation cross swords over graft case

An exchange of words has erupted between the state and the Jacob Zuma Foundation over the former president’s case, which is due back in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, on Tuesday.

The verbal tussle follows a statement issued by the Foundation, giving an impression that the matter had been postponed.

“We have noted that state, without stating a reason, has now said it will be ready to start with the criminal trial on 17 May 2021. This is not the first time such a promise is made, while we the Foundation doubt the bona fides or readiness of the state to ever run this case, we hope our judiciary will not tolerate any further postponement beyond this date,” charged the Foundation.

It said it would continue to push for the case to be struck off the roll until the state is ready to prosecute, instead of parading the former president as a criminal while wasting the taxpayers’ money.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has hit back, refuting the postponement claims.

Spokesperson Sipho Ngwema says it is disingenuous for the Foundation to pretend that the trial was set down for Tuesday.

“This Tuesday, February 23 was never a trial date but for the parties to resolve outstanding pre-trial management issues and agree on a trial date, among other housekeeping issues,” it says in a statement.

The state says it is ready for trial and its preferred date and that of the French arms company Thales’ defence team is May 17.

Thales’s South African subsidiary Thint won a R2.6-billion contract in to fit four new navy frigates with combat suites, as part of the 1999 Strategic Defence Procurement Package, known as the Arms Deal. 

The company is in the dock with Zuma for racketeering. It allegedly bankrolled the former president, through his then financial adviser Shabir Shaik, for political support to clinch the deal and for protection from scrutiny.

“The actual date of trial will be determined by the court taking into account its court roll – and availability of the state and the two defence teams,” says Ngwema.

Zuma faces charges of racketeering, two counts of corruption, one count of money laundering, and more than 10 counts of fraud relating to 783 payments he allegedly received in connection with the controversial arms deal.

It is not the first time his foundation accuses the NPA of delaying tactics. Last September, it berated the prosecuting authority for a delay in the matter, saying while the media accused Zuma of delaying tactics – it was actually the NPA that wasn’t ready to proceed.

Anger over NPA’s decision to charge Dr Beale with murder

Anger over NPA’s decision to charge Dr Beale with murder

The President of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) has slammed the National Prosecuting Authority’s decision to charge paediatric surgeon, Professor Peter Beale, with murder.

Beale and the late anaesthetist Dr Abdulhay Munshi were first charged with culpable homicide after 10-year-old Zayyaan Sayed died following a routine surgery at Johannesburg’s Park Lane Hospital in 2019.

Last week, however, the NPA changed the charge to that of murder and added fraud to the charge sheet.

“The state alleges that he misrepresented facts to the parents Zayyaan Sayed therefore causing them to believe accept and believe to their prejudice or potential prejudice that the procedure performed on the child was necessary when results obtained from Lancelet laboratories revealed otherwise,” says NPA Gauteng spokesperson, Phindi Mjonondwane.

However, Dr Letlape believes the NPA is overreaching. 

“It is extremely concerning to hear that the NPA is charging Prof Beale with murder because it makes the prospect of practicing of medicine in this country quite frightening. I hope the medical profession wakes up to the new reality that is being created by the NPA and we stand together to fight criminalisation of the profession,” says Letlape.

He plans to mobilise his colleagues “so that we stand up against the brutality against the profession.”

Baele is due to appear in the High Court in Johannesburg on February 19.

So far, more than 42 000 have signed a petition to have the charges against him dropped.

His co-accused in the matter died in a hail of bullets in Orange Groove last year.

His assailant is unknown and remains on the loose.

This is something I am not going to let go until a lesson is learnt: Msimanga

This is something I am not going to let go until a lesson is learnt: Msimanga

“As I said from the get go – I was set on setting the record straight and clearing my name. One part is done, the next part is to make sure that there is a civil claim,” DA Gauteng leader, Solly Msimanga, has told Local Voices while reacting to the National Prosecuting Authority’s decision not to prosecute him for sexual harassment.

Msimanga says he has instructed his lawyers to proceed with the lawsuit against former DA Gauteng MPL, Nkele Molapo, who had accused him of sexual harassment.

Molapo says the incident occurred in 2014.

However, Msimanga says the NPA’s decision has vindicated him, proving that there is no case for him to answer.

The former Tshwane Mayor is confident that a court will rule in his favour in the lawsuit against Molapo.

He says after the civil claim – he will publish the real story behind the accusations. He says he has been receiving numerous calls from people who find themselves in the same boat as him.

“Because I think a lot of people in South Africa need to know what really happens and what is really happening. I mean this is not the first time that a political figure would be wrongfully accused and sometimes things just turn to die without it being followed. Families are destroyed and lives are destroyed. I am going to ensure that that’s not the case.”

Msimanga says false sexual harassment and rape allegations are problematic as they take away from the real cases that need attention. He says he wants the lawsuit against Molapo to deter other women from laying bogus claims against men.

“It is these bogus cases that go unabated that we now need to make sure that as much as we are talking about not in my name and wanting men to behave in a particular way, we should also be condemning women who are using this pandemic in South Africa for their own selfish and stupid personal gains or personal vendettas. This is something I am definitely not going to let go until a lesson is learnt and over and above that – we are going to make sure that anybody who thinks about doing this in future will have to think twice because there will be consequences.”

Molapo maintains that she was sexually harassed.

She plans requesting issuance of a nolle prosequi certificate from the NPA so that she can explore the possibility of private prosecution.

The certificate is a declaration by a prosecutor to the judge on a decision to drop a case.

Msimanga off the hook after NPA drops sexual harassment case

Msimanga off the hook after NPA drops sexual harassment case

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has decided not to prosecute DA Gauteng leader, Solly Msimanga, for sexual harassment.

Sacked DA Gateng MPL, Nkele Molapo, laid the charge against the former Tshwane Mayor early in October, accusing the politician of groping her while dropping her off from a function in 2014.

She had initially laid a complaint with the DA and later withdrew it, saying she no longer had confidence in the party’s internal process.

At the time of making the claim, Molopo was being probed for leaking strategic information to EFF leader, Julius Malema.

A charge that she was found guilty of and summarily expelled from the party.

The DA questioned her timing of the reporting on the alleged sexual harassment.

However, Molapo believes the DA was bias in the matter.

Now, she is insinuating that DA Federal Council Chairperson, Helen Zille, might have had prior knowledge that the NPA would drop the charge against Msimanga.

Molapo says prior to her meeting with the NPA, Zille wrote an article that “reads like it was written by someone who knew what the outcome would be.”  

In the piece, titled Getting closer to the Truth for a Sex Scandal, the DA Federal leader questions the treatment of the harassment case against Msimanga by the media, among other issues.

Zille said despite numerous social media posts Molapo had written calling Msimanga “Eye Candy”, her “Monday Crush”;  “King Solly”, no media house questioned Molapo’s motives for laying a charge six years after the alleged sexual harassment incident.

She accuses Molapo of having accelerated victimhood after realising that she stood no chance of winning the misconduct case against her.

Molapo says she will be officially writing to the NPA requesting issuance of a nolle prosequi certificate following their decision not to proceed with the sexual assault case.

“What I find particularly strange is that the prosecutor conceded that my version was more believable, and in fact went as far as saying that with the evidence before him, he doesn’t doubt that the incident did take place. However, he will not prosecute because of one minor thing that might let the accused off the hook. Even when I said that I’m willing to take the stand and be grilled by the defence on that technicality, he declined to prosecute because he has the discretion to do so.”

Molapo says she is seeking legal advice on the matter and might push for a private prosecution.

Alex taxi driver accused of teen’s murder to spend Christmas in jail

Alex taxi driver accused of teen’s murder to spend Christmas in jail

The man accused of killing Alexandra teenager, Jabulile Nkosi, will spend Christmas in jail.

Prince Ndlovu’s case will return to court on 21 January 2021.

It has been postponed yet again for further investigations.

The 25-year-old taxi driver is accused of killing 18-year-old Nkosi who was a learner at the East Bank High School at the time of her passing.

Her body was found with bullet wounds in September near the Jukskei River Park in West bank.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in Gauteng believes it has a strong case against Ndlovu.

Spokesperson Phindi Njonondwane has previously told reporters that “the suspect did not apply for bail instead he has applied for legal aid assistance in the matter.”

She says investigations continue to establish whether he has committed other crimes.

Police have also said they have strong evidence linking the Zimbabwean national to Nkosi’s murder.

Different community organisations were picketing outside court on Wednesday, demanding that the accused be remanded in custody.

Others are not happy with the case’s constant postponements.

“Why did they keep on postponing the case because there is clear evidence that Prince killed Jabulile?” asked one picketer.

Ex Gauteng Health senior officials facing graft charges out on bail

Ex Gauteng Health senior officials facing graft charges out on bail

Four former senior government officials in the Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH) and two businessmen were granted bail by the Specialised Commercial Crime  Court in Palm Ridge on Thursday

Sybil Ngcobo, former head of department and accounting officer for the (GDoH); Mmakgosi Mosupi, former Chief Director of Information and Communications Technology; Valdis Romaano, former Director of Supply Chain Management; and Obakeng Mookeletsi, Deputy Director General, Executive Support Program Manager, appeared on charges of corruption and contravention of Public Finance Management Act.

Ngcobo is out on R8 000 bail, Mosupi, Ramaano  and Mooleletsi R25 000.

John Richard Payne and Phil Austin, and their respective companies, Ukwakha Dezign (Pty) Ltd and Life Channel Communications (Pty) Ltd, were also expected to appear alongside the four. Their warrants of arrest could not be executed as they are out of the country.

The matter relates to a 2008 tender for the provision of HIS and e – HR systems. Subject to confirmation of the funding by the Gauteng Treasury, the tender was awarded to the Baoki Consortium, which consisted of AME Africa (Pty) Ltd, Health System Technology (Pty) Ltd, AMETHST (Pty) Ltd and Equiton Investments (Pty) Ltd. 

The estimated cost for the new HIS and e-HR systems was R630 million. However, the final total value of the tender awarded to Baoki Consortium was R1 045 174 125.12.

A company called 3P Consulting (Pty) Ltd (3P) was appointed by the GDoH to manage various contracts on its behalf. A Service Level Agreement (SLA) was signed on 28 March 2008 between the GDoH and the Baoki Consortium. 

The state alleges that on 23 May 2008, Mosupi and Mr Mookeletsi, together with representatives of the Baoki Consortium (AME, HST Technology and Equiton), signed a change order to allow Baoki Consortium, through AME, to procure the services for the provision of power (generators), furniture, network, computer literacy training and catering.

The value of the change order was R13 369 693.

“The services that were procured by Baoki Consortium as a result of the May 2008 change order were not services related to the original tender listed in the RFP. The change order was supposed to be a separate tender or to be procured internally by the GDoH on a tender basis. The supplier for the furniture as stated in the change order above was Ukwakha Design (Pty) Ltd (Ukwakha).  This company was owned by Payne. This meant that the Baoki Consortium contract was managed by 3P, with Payne as one its directors. In turn, the sub-contracting company which supplied furniture, Ukwakha, was owned by Payne.
The negotiations for the HIS and e-HR rollout agreement for the GDoH was handled by 3P on its behalf.  The rollout agreement needed a signature from the Gauteng MEC for Finance to be an effective agreement which can legally bind the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) for future financial commitments.”

Despite the need for the rollout agreement to be compliant with the PFMA, 3P and the health department allegedly failed to acquire the written authorisation from the Gauteng Provincial Treasury (GPT).

On the 27th of October 2008, the GDoH was warned in writing that it could not procure the services of the Baoki Consortium due to lack of funding thus future financial commitments would be in contravention of the PFMA and would not bind the Provincial Revenue Fund. 

Despite the above warnings, Ngcobo and her two senior officials, Mosupi and Ramaano, allegedly signed the SLA on 03 November 2008.

After the signing of the rollout agreement, on 26 November 2008, Mosupi submitted a change order for the provision of Gauteng Wide Satellite Based WAN. There was subsequently a change order proposing to add services for the provision of a Gauteng Province Wide Area Network (WAN). The submission was recommended by Mookeletsi, on the 27th of November 2008. The RFP for the HIS and e-HR did not include the service of network connectivity as one of the services to be supplied or rendered.

In a motivation which was submitted by Mosupi, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) says it was recommended that the contract be awarded to TLC Africa VSAT Solution (TLC Africa).

A change order was signed on 16 January 2009 allowing Baoki to provide the service. On 12 February 2009, an SLA was then entered into and signed between Life Channel and AMETHST (a Baoki Consortium member). The contract value for the VSAT solution was R203 936 304.79. 

No competitive bids were invited by the accounting authority although the value was above R500 000.

The agreement with the Baoki Consortium was cancelled during 2009. It is alleged that Life Channel, through its director, Austin, paid for Mosupi’s family to visit London and that the trip was facilitated through 3P. 

AMETHST, member of the Baoki Consortium, is also accused of making several large deposits into a bank account in the name of Mookeletsi, totaling R300 000. Payne and Ukwakha Dezign are said to have covered the cost for the refurbishment of Romaano’s house to the value of R952 358.

The Hawks’ investigation follows that of the Special Investigating Unit in 2010.

Former SIU head, Willie Hofmeyer, has hailed the developments.

In a FaceBook post, he has said: “Well done to the Investigating Directorate!!! At last, action on the biggest Asset Forfeiture case done at the time (2010). Working with SIU and the National Treasury, we recovered about R1.4 billion that was being siphoned off by senior ANC members in Gauteng. Unfortunately I still do not know why the NPA in Gauteng did not prosecute the case. I hope the NPA will hold someone accountable for this. We tried to resuscitate it while Nxasana (Mxolisi) was head of the NPA, but he was removed before anything could happen.”

He adds that:” After that state capture go into full swing and nothing appeared to have been done to prosecute the case until now. Lots of strenght to the NPA team.”

The case has been postponed to 3 December.

Case against Alexandra officers accused of young mother’s murder postponed

Case against Alexandra officers accused of young mother’s murder postponed

The case against two Alexandra police officers accused of killing a 28-year-old Samantha Radebe has been postponed to later this month.

The officers briefly appeared before the Alexandra Magistrate Court this morning.

They will return to court on the 29th of October for a bail hearing.

Sergeant Frans Malesela Kganyago and Constable Wisani Redgement Chabani face murder and attempted murder charges, respectively.

Radebe was coming from work when she was shot and killed by a stray bullet.

The officers are said to have been engaged in a shootout with suspected criminals in Tsutsumani, Alexandra, in January this year.

The accused officers are not being kept in custody, for now, as they were summoned to appear before court and not arrested

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Gauteng Spokesperson Phindi Njonondwane says they have a strong case against the pair.

“After the assessment process, we realised that there are prospects for prosecution and the matter was enrolled based on evidence before court.”

Radebe’s family was present in court. It says it is pinning its hopes on the state to ensure that justice is served for the slain mother.

Family spokesperson Morena Mathane says they are in pain.

“The family is still in pain to see the officers roaming in the streets, but we hope justice will prevail at the end of the matter.”