EFF slams Batohi for letting big guns off hook

The EFF has registered doubts over National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) boss Shamila Batohi’s ability to live up to her mandate to act without fear, favour or prejudice in criminal allegations involving President Cyril Ramaphosa and his ANC colleagues.

In a scathing letter to Batohi, dated last Thursday, EFF secretary-general Marshall Dlamini listed various decisions or non decisions on matters of public interest by the NPA, saying at worst the prosecuting authority had turned into Ramaphosa and the governing party’s fiefdom.

Among the ANC politicians that the EFF wanted on the NPA’s hit list were Ramaphosa, Minerals and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe, ANC deputy secretary-general Nomvula Mokonyane and Deputy Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thabang Makwetla for their alleged corrupt activities at Bosasa.

At the top of the list, Dlamini flagged the financial dealings between Ramaphosa and his son Andile with  Bosasa, as well as the subsequent contradictory statements that the president made in parliament.

Ramaphosa had initially told parliament that the R500 000  his son received from Bosasa boss Gavin Watson was a payment for the  services his son  rendered, but later made a U-turn, saying the funds were a donation to his 2017 ANC presidential campaign.

Dlamini, who copied the letter to Justice Minister Ronald Lamola, said: “The acceptance by the court in the matter of the public protector and others v President of the Republic of South Africa 2016 (6) SA 37 (CC) dealt with whether the president had the intent to mislead parliament, not the factual matrix, which does not resolve the obvious tension above.”

He said evidence was presented before Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’s state capture commission of inquiry that the Bosasa executives never bankrolled anyone without expecting something in return.

“A careful reading of the Zondo commission report details how no payment was ever made with benevolent intent and that it was always a quid pro quo relationship.”

Dlamini continued: “This necessitates a probe into the payment made to President Ramaphosa’s son as aforesaid, and most importantly, now that the president knew about it, why he (the president) sought clarity and a guarantee that the money was above board?”

He said Batohi’s attempt to cover for Ramaphosa was glaring at the NPA senior management conference when she interjected advocate Peter Serunye’s inquiry on whether the Financial Intelligence Centre could assist him in “uncovering the money-laundering web in the case he was investigating against the president”.

“You instantly said that the matter would be discussed privately. To date, the matter has not resurfaced, and advocate Serunye is no longer in possession of the matter.

“Your attempt to cover for the president is glaring. We demand that you apprise us of the status of the investigation.”

Dlamini said it was clear that Bosasa had a penchant for installing security cameras for those whom they sought favours from, including Mantashe, Mokonyane, Makwetla, and the chief magistrate Desmond Nair. “The difference is that chief magistrate Nair is being prosecuted while the other beneficiaries of security cameras are not charged, despite the Zondo commission’s recommendation.”

He said Zondo dismissed Mantashe’s frivolous defence that the installation of security cameras at his three homes by Bosasa was akin to a “traditional project” where everyone contributes. The commission concluded by saying that the conduct triggered the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (Precca).

“Similarly to Mantashe above, Makwetla received a security system installation, and his explanation that he refused to pay because the work was sub par was rejected by the Zondo commission, and it was recommended that he too be investigated.”

Dlamini said Zondo also dismissed Mokonyane’s “frivolous defence and denials” and concluded that Mokonyane was dishonest and that she should be probed for corruption. “Again, the evidence against Mokonyane is overwhelming, and she has, to date, not been indicted.”

Dlamini also said that the commission wanted to find out which officials set up the Bosasa ANC war room so that they could be investigated for breaking Precca. This came after Ramaphosa admitted that the ANC as a legal entity got something good while key officials knew about earlier serious corruption claims against Bosasa.

“As members of the public and public representatives, we have a vested interest in seeing that the vast resources that were invested in the Zondo commission were not in vain and that powerful politicians are also subjected to the law without discrimination,” he said, adding that “there exists no other explanation for the failure or refusal to charge the aforementioned ANC politicians save for political favours.”

Lamola’s spokesperson, Chrispin Phiri, said that the minister did not have the authority to influence the handling of specific cases by the NPA.

The NPA did not respond to questions at the time of going to print.

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