News24

Hlongwane order dropped

2010-03-19 19:01

Johannesburg - The National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) has abandoned a preservation order against assets seized from Fana Hlongwane, who was under investigation for possibly receiving incentives from international arms company BAE Systems.

"The NDPP has taken a decision to abandon the preservation court order against Mr Fana Hlongwane," the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said in a statement on Friday.

The NDPP had authorised the application for the preservation order after considering and receiving reports from Willie Hofmeyr, the deputy NDPP assigned for asset forfeiture processes.

Suspicion

The matter had not progressed because the investigation had yielded no evidence of criminal conduct, and it could not continue simply on a suspicion.

Hlongwane had been asked for detailed information about money he held in a Lichtenstein account.

He needed to show on a balance of probabilities that the money was not obtained from criminal activities, or to rebut the suspicion of criminal activity.

Part of the information provided was annexures consisting of Hlongwane's consultancy contract with former defence minister Joe Modise and also his consultancy agreement with BAE Systems.

"In essence, the latter contracts also showed rights and obligations of the contracting parties including monies due when performance requirements were met."

Lastly, they also contained papers filed in arbitration proceedings by Hlongwane against BAE Systems seeking to enforce payment for monies allegedly due to him as it appeared that BAE Systems paid only a portion of the money.

No additional evidence

Having read the documents there was no reason for the retention of the preservation order, said the NDPP.

"The suspicion of criminality was also rebutted by the information provided and the source of the money was known.

"Whilst there was and still is room to argue for the retention of the preservation order, the evidence available does not support this approach."

The NPA also does not have additional evidence to continue with its line of action.

"We should, in our desperation to fight crime and prove our worth, not be tempted to go overboard and find ourselves in a position where we face criticism for profiling certain people without legal justification" said NDPP Menzi Simelane.

This did not mean that the NPA would not consider information on this matter again.