Over the past five years, hundreds of cases referred to by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) have been left unattended to or unsolved, City Press reports.
This is according to SIU head Andy Mothibi, who explained that most of these cases are made up of corrupt offences involving officials and businesspeople who have benefitted from illegally awarded contracts.
According to Mothibi, nothing has been done and no constructive feedback has been received on the hundreds of cases since 2014/2015.
In an attempt to solve the backlog, a memorandum of understanding was signed with former NPA head Shaun Abrahams to conduct regular formal meetings to better track cases. According to Mothibi, this did not amount to any proactive stance being taken, which is concerning.
Mothibi expressed his concern on the hold-up with solving the 686 cases, and wants to fill the gaps in the investigations to see positive results.
The NPA responded to Mothibi’s concerns by explaining that SIU cases are referred to the Hawks because only them and SAPS are mandated to conduct criminal investigations, as stated in the Constitution.
“Prosecution can only ensue on the basis of a criminal docket registered and investigated by the police,” NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku told City Press.
Mothibi countered this explanation by citing the qualified advocates, forensic attorneys and accountants that form part of the SIU that are capable of identifying when a crime has been committed.
He also expressed his concern regarding the reluctance of accounting authorities and officers to prosecute officials who have been found guilty.
President Cyril Ramaphosa proclaimed in August that he will be authorising the SIU to probe allegations levelled by various parties against the office of the state attorney. Departments that face investigations include the department of water and sanitaion, the Ekurhuleni and eThekwini municipalities, and the Media, Information and Communication Technologies Seta, Ramaphosa announced this week.
Mothibi said the SIU is engaging with the department of justice to establish a special tribunal, which will be announced later this year. This will involve monitoring remedial action, and preventing corruption by setting up educational means to inform officials of what it is.