Former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Johan Booysen says suspended special director of public prosecutions Lawrence Mrwebi queried the legal validity of the corruption case of a policeman and a controversial KZN businessman.
Colonel Navin Madhoe and businessman Thoshan Panday had been charged with corruption for allegedly trying to bribe the Hawks boss who was investigating Panday for procurement contracts with the South African Police Service (SAPS) during the 2010 World Cup.
“Soon after both had been arrested and appeared in the commercial crimes court in Durban, the investigating officer alerted me that the prosecutor Bheki Manyathi had received communication from advocate Mrwebi”
“‘Besides a scrap piece of paper, what other evidence is there against Madhoe?’ he asked Manyathi,” Booysen told the state capture commission of inquiry on Thursday.
The former KZN Hawks boss said that he felt that it was strange that Madhoe’s and Panday’s attorneys sent representations to Mrwebi.
“I am not a prosecutor, but in my experience, normally if you want to make representations, it should [go] to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in KZN.
“Advocate Mrwebi should not have entertained it and he should have referred it back to the DPP,” Booysen told the commission.
Booysen alleged that Mrwebi then asked for a legal opinion from Manyathi, who was the prosecutor in the case at the time, regarding the strength of the case. Booysen did not tell the commission the motive behind the request.
The 8-page opinion, dated January 22, 2012 concluded: “In my view, the case against Madhoe is overwhelming and I recommend that he must be indicted in the High Court.”
Manyathi told Booysen his stance on the case prevented him from being promoted at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the commission heard.
“I bumped into Manyathi in the High Court in Durban during one of our appearances. He said: ‘General, I am not happy with what is happening here,’ and that his stance on this matter resulted in him in not being promoted,” Booysen said.
When probed by inquiry chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, on where Manyathi was, Booysen said he was in private practice.
The corruption case was later withdrawn after a new KZN NPA head was appointed, advocate Moipone Noko.
“She had concerns relating to representations Panday had made, which needed further investigation.
“I am in the position to know if there is a prima facie case and in this particular instance, every conceivable evidence is in that docket. The evidence was overwhelming – but in spite of this, charges were withdrawn,” Booysen said.
The inquiry resumes on May 2 with Booysen’s testimony.
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