‘Prosecutions in high-profile corruption, state capture cases moving too slowly’

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The Ministry of Justice says the criticism against the pace of prosecutions in high-profile corruption and State Capture matters needs to be put in context. This follows news that South Africa’s bid to extradite the Gupta family from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was unsuccessful. This prompted the nation to question whether prosecutions will ever materialise in these matters.

Since the findings of the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, the public has frequently seen a display of high-profile individuals arrested and hauled into criminal docks for alleged corruption or State Capture.

While it appeared that the wheels of justice were in motion, concerns are growing over the lack of convictions or the slow pace in high-profile matters before the courts.

According to the Ministry of Justice, this criticism should take into account the fact that the institutions responsible for this task had to be rebuilt following State Capture.

Ministry of Justice spokesperson, Chrispin Phiri says, “We also should note that state capture itself did lead to a severe denouement of our state law enforcement agencies and so these agencies have been in the process of being rebuilt. So, as we criticise law enforcement agencies for the level of pace at that they move, we must also bear in mind that these agencies had been crippled in the past and now have been rebuilt and are now able to bring competent cases so that South Africans can see that justice is being done.”

Recently, news broke that the country had failed to secure the extradition of the Gupta brothers on fraud and corruption charges after a UAE court denied the request weeks ago.

Self-proclaimed Prophet Shephard Bushiri and his wife Mary are still in their homeland of Malawi, following their escape from the country in 2020.

Due to Angelo Agrizzi’s ill health, the Bosasa matter has been postponed indefinitely; former Ethekwini Mayor, Zandile Gumede’s corruption trial has been postponed indefinitely.

The Estina Dairy Farm corruption case implicating Mosebenzi Zwane and others, as well as, the recent Eskom corruption case implicating Matshela Koko remains ongoing.

Experts at the National Conference on the Constitution recently highlighted the important conversation surrounding the ”lack of effectiveness seen in some state institutions” such as the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority.

Director of Open Secrets Hennie van Vuuren says, “They are at the forefront of holding the very most powerful elite to account. Two or three weeks ago, we saw a matter being heard in Bloemfontein which is the cornerstone of extraditing the Guptas, the so-called ”nulane” matter in that particular matter. What we have witnessed is that unfortunately, the prosecuting officials were not even able to make an argument as to why the Gupta leaks, which have been in the public domain for as long as they have, why they should be admitted into evidence.”

In the midst of all the uncertainty surrounding the Gupta brothers, Justice Minister Ronald Lamola has assured South Africans that all avenues will be explored to ensure that the brothers are brought to stand trial in South Africa.