Presidency confirms Shaik's application for pardon

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pretoria - An application for pardon from convicted fraudster Shabir Shaik will be treated like any other application, the Presidency said on Monday.

The Presidency said it received the application from Shaik in April last year and that as required by the constitution the President will consider every application brought before him.

Shaik, who was convicted of fraud, was released on medical parole last week. He was serving 28 months of a 15-year jail term for fraud and corruption.

The Presidential Pardon is an executive act of mercy to be exercised by the President in his exclusive discretion, and which will only be reviewable by the courts in very limited circumstances where bad faith by the President can be proved.

The Justice Department is responsible for the administrative preparations of the necessary documents and evaluation of the facts in terms of internal departmental policy guidelines which are not binding on the President.

When the department considers an application for pardon the following factors, as contained in internal policy guidelines, are taken into consideration:

* The age of the offender at the time of the commission of the offence.

* Whether a reasonable period (10 years or more) has lapsed since the conviction.

* Circumstances surrounding the commission of the offence.

* The nature and seriousness of the offence. The sentence imposed is the determinant factor and not the name of the offence.

* Personal circumstances of the offender at time of application.

* The interest of the State and the community.

* The interests of the victim, if any.

In cases where the offender was not a minor at the time of the commission of the offence(s), the above-mentioned as well as the following factors are taken into consideration:

* Whether or not the sentence consists of a period of imprisonment (whether it was suspended or not) and also the blameworthiness generally attached to the offence.

* Whether the negative factors flowing from the conviction are of such a nature that the relevant case can on these grounds be distinguished from those of other South Africans with similar convictions.

* When an application for pardon of a conviction in respect of an offence, which allegedly has been politically motivated, is received, the department is not in the position to establish whether or not such an offence was committed with political objectives.