EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi had asked about the delays in prosecuting Markus Jooste who is investigated by the Hawks for fraud and money-laundering charges.
Cape Town – Minister Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola on Wednesday dismissed suggestions by the EFF that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) was not prosecuting former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste because it was protecting white criminals.
Lamola said the NPA was not protecting black or white criminals.
He made the comment when he was responding to a follow-up question during a question and answer session in the National Assembly.
EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi had asked about the delays in prosecuting Jooste who is investigated by the Hawks for fraud and money-laundering charges, among others.
“The NPA is dealing with this matter without fear, prejudice or any favour to anyone. It is also dealing into it without looking at the colour of the person who is involved as per the mandate of the NPA.
“They are prioritising the matter as I said that it is handled in a manner all matters go through,” he said, adding that the investigations of that nature took time to complete.
Lamola also said the NPA had not decided whether to institute or not to institute the charges.
“The NPA is serious about dealing with white collar crime including private sector corruption, fraud committed by companies and private persons.
“They are collaborating with other law enforcement units in the form of Anti-Corruption Task Team GT to prioritise and monitor the investigations of these matters with a view of ensuring speedy enrolments and address white collar crime.”
The minister stated that the NPA was undergoing a process of resourcing the special crime unit tasked with guiding investigations and prosecutions of complex commercial cases.
“Additional prosecutor posts are being created and contract prosecutors are appointed for three years. The NPA participated in the creation of additional courts in consultation with other stakeholders, including the judiciary, the Department of Justice and the Hawks.”
Lamola also said special courts would commence operations in the new financial year.
“Investigation on the matter in question has been ongoing since early 2018. It is a highly complex investigation involving forensic investigation, thousands of foreign and local transactions, require various applications of mutual assistance relating to different bank accounts in various counties and jurisdictions to be made,” he said.
He said the Financial Sector Conduct Authority investigation into allegations of insider trading was recently finalised.
“The case docket for criminal investigation for possible insider trading against the suspect was registered by the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation.
“A team of prosecutors is guiding such investigation and a team of investigators has been enhanced in line with the decision to prioritise the matter.”
Lamola said once investigations were finalised the NPA would make an announcement and a suspect or suspects would be speedily charged.
But, the EFF charged that the Steinhoff scandal took place four years ago and no arrests were made whereas arrests were made fast in the VBS Bank matter.
Lamola said cases such as Steinhof, Trifecta and others took years to be completed.
“Justice will prevail to the people of this country. There is no one protecting white or black criminals,” he reiterated.
Lamola also said the NPA and the Hawks were working together to ensure that the investigation was done in a thorough manner and by the time they take a decision, it would be informed by facts and law.
“It is not informed by colour or orientation or political views of any individual. With time the NPA and Hawks are to inform the nation what charges are to (be) preferred and what is happening with the manner,” he said.