Lawyers of prosecutors accused of enabling state capture dismiss the claims as malicious and baseless

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Lawyers of prosecutors accused of enabling state capture have dismissed the accusation against their clients as malicious and baseless.

Advocates Torie Pretorius, KwaZulu-Natal prosecutions boss Moipone Noko, Antony Mosing, Raymond Mathenjwa and Sello Maema among those are accused of aiding malicious prosecutions against public officials fighting corruption.

Head of the KZN-based Cato Manor unit, Johan Booysen, alleged that some of these prosecutors acted at the behest of fired former acting National Director of Public Prosecutions, Nomgcobo Jiba.

Booysen was himself charged for racketeering relating to the alleged extra-judicial killings of suspects by members of his unit. But Mathenjwa and Maema’s legal representative Advocate Tebogo Ramathibe told the State Capture Commission that Booysen and his unit were undeniably responsible for the unwarranted killings of innocent people.

Contradicting reports

The inquiry also heard testimony on the alleged cover-up in the extradition of Zimbabwean nationals, that did not follow proper procedure. This is according to evidence presented by the commission’s legal team this morning.

The commission’s Senior Counsel, advocate Tebogo Mathibedi, read a report on the investigation into the Zimbabwe rendition in 2015.

He said there were two contradicting reports compiled by Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) in relation to this.

In the first report, former IPID head Robert McBride was accused of instructing IPID investigator, Innocent Khuba and IPID investigation head, Matthew Sesoko, to review evidence on the rendition.

The commission hears on testimony extradition of Zimbabwean nationals:

IPID prepared a second report, which recommended that captain Lesley Maluleke together with other police officers be charged with kidnapping and defeating the ends of justice. The report also recommended that generals Anwa Dramat and Shadrack Sibiya face similar charges.

In December 2014, the then Minister of Police, Nathi Nhleko, suspended Dramat and in 2015, Nhleko appointed Werksmans Attorneys to investigate the issue of the two IPID reports with different recommendations.

“A case docket of defeating the ends of justice and fraud was opened against McBride, Khuba and Sesoko. In February 2016, it was recommended that Sesoko and Khuba be prosecuted,” said Mathabibedi.

Advocate Kgaogelo Ramaimela, Senior Counsel, told the commission that McBride misled the commission in 2019 when he gave evidence.

She said although South Africa has no criminal act called on rendition, the country does have laws that could have been used to charge McBride and the other accused, that suggested the crime committed was rendition.

“What Mr McBride failed to tell the commission and the public at large is that the people that were accused of having taking part of the rendition did,” charged Ramaimela.

The Senior Counsell said that legal procedures were not followed in the extradition of the Zimbabwean nationals.

Phahlane wants to clear his name

Former acting national SAPS Commissioner, Lt General Johannes Khomotso Phahlane, also testified on Friday.

Phahlane was represented by his lawyer Johan Eksteen from BDK Attorneys. He told the commission that he just wants to clear his name from allegations made against him at the commission by McBride.

Phahlane says also wants the allegations against him of unlawful practice by police union, POPCRU, be investigated immediately to clear his name.

The former police boss says before April 2016, he had never heard of or met McBride. He came to know McBride when he came to his house in 2016 to introduce himself to him. He says McBride warned him of the then Police Minister, Nathi Nhleko.

Phahlane says he has nothing to fear because he had done nothing wrong. – Additional reporting by Nothando Magudulela