Hawks making inroads on high profile cases

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Detectives from the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation are making in-roads on several high profile police cases – from allegations of State capture, commercial crimes, to organized crime – with some probes successfully concluded, while others are awaiting prosecutorial decisions.

This is according to Hawks head Advocate Godfrey Lebeya, who briefed the Portfolio Committee on Police in the Old Assembly on Tuesday.

The report to the committee touched on cases that involve allegations of State capture levelled against the Gupta family, investigations into Bosasa contracts with the Department of Correctional Services, the VBS Mutual Bank looting, the Steinhoff matter as well as concluded investigations into underworld narcotics figures.

This update included the successful clampdown on the recent spate of violent cash-in-transit robberies.

“Just as an overview, with regards to cash-in-transit robberies, since August 2017 to 22 November 2018, 284 arrests were effected, and 214 of these suspects remain in custody, the others – 31 – were released on bail and 52 convictions have been secured.

“A total of 161 firearms and 116 vehicles have been recovered,” Lebeya said.

Update on high profile cases 

Lebeya briefed Members of Parliament on 22 selected cases out of a case workload of 15 804 cases that were being investigated by less than 2 600 Hawks members.

On investigations into State capture, he said 800 statements have been obtained in a R2.4 billion fraud, corruption and money laundering case involving Eskom and Tegeta/Trillian and Mckinsey. This relates to the pre-payment by Eskom to Tegeta for the purchasing of Optimum Coal Holdings amounting to R659 million.

Investigations in this case revealed that the Bank of Baroda played a key role in the facilitation of the funds in the purchasing of Optimum. The matter is currently under investigation, Advocate Lebeya said.

He said in the Estina and the Free State Department of Agriculture matter – where the two entered into an agreement to implement and manage a dairy project in Vrede for the benefit of disadvantaged people in the area, Estina was to provide a capital injection of R228 million – which never happened.

“It has been established that the said amount was then transferred to the Bank of Baroda and thereafter, paid to Oakbay Investments, other different companies and individuals and not the Vrede Dairy Project,” he said.

He said 11 accused are currently before court in Bloemfontein on charges ranging from fraud, corruption and money laundering. He said 295 statements have been taken and that the case has been remanded to 4 December 2018.

Other high profile cases that are still under investigation include the R1.5 billion VBS Mutual Bank matter, where several municipalities unlawfully made deposits into the bank against treasury regulations. In this case, 71 statements have been taken.

Lebeya said that more than 610 statements have been obtained in an investigation involving the Bosasa Group of Companies in a matter dating back to between 2004 and 2007.

This relates to tenders that were awarded by the Department of Correctional Services to companies within Bosasa after services were extended over a period of time amid allegations that officials from Correctional Services received gratification from Bosasa.

The value involved in the fraud, corruption and contravention of the Public Finance Management Act is R1.6 billion.

Lebeya said the Bosasa investigation has been completed. “The investigation itself is completed. It is just a matter of finalising the charge sheet so that the individuals involved could now be prosecuted.”

He said either an indictment or an arrest would accompany the securing of the forensic report.

On the Steinhoff matter, Lebeya said subpoenas in terms of Section 205 of the Criminal Procedures Act on the bank account has been done and requested information has been received.

He also said information that former CEO Markus Jooste alerted certain individuals before Steinhoff International’s share priced plummeted was being followed up. – SAnews.gov.za