NPA confirms second Hofmeyr probe

2011-07-17 17:57

Cape Town - Police have been asked to investigate a second complaint of corruption against Willie Hofmeyr, the head of both the asset forfeiture unit (AFU) and the special investigating unit (SIU), the National Prosecuting Authority confirmed on Sunday.

NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mahaga said the national director of public prosecutions (Menzi Simelane) called in the police after billionaire Dave King levelled the allegations against Hofmeyr.

"Dave King wrote to us and complained about corruption. We referred it to the police," Mahaga told Sapa.

"I think they have opened a docket."

Mahaga said the NPA was unable to investigate King's claims because it no longer had an investigative arm following the demise of the Scorpions.

"We have no investigative capacity or mandate. So that is why the national director referred it to the police."

Mahaga was confirming a report in the Sunday Times.

The newspaper quoted Hofmeyr as protesting his innocence and saying he believed senior prosecutors would have probed King's claims instead of the police.

"If I believed I had done anything wrong I would have offered to resign my position or asked to be placed on suspension.

Plea deal

"However, I strongly believed that there was no substance in the complaint and was reinforced in my view by an opinion from a senior counsel."

King's complaints reportedly relate to a request by the AFU that the billionaire withdraw complaints against the unit as a part of a plea deal on myriad of charges against him, including tax evasion.

Police are already investigating another charge against Hofmeyr, based on a complaint by a member of the National Health, Education and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu)..

It relates to the alleged misappropriation of SIU funds and the alleged flouting of supply chain and procurement procedures in the awarding of a tender to refurbish the unit's offices in Pretoria.

Of that case, Hofmeyr has said he was confident of a fair and speedy investigation despite the "nasty" allegations and hinted that it was an attempt to discredit him because of his work in fighting serious corruption.

Control

The Sunday Times portrayed the two charges as part of a campaign by Simelane to undermine Hofmeyr and the AFU. The newspaper said an investigation against the KwaZulu-Natal head of the AFU, Knorx Molelle, was linked to the fight for control of the unit.

Mahaga confirmed that Molelle, who is involved in the politically sensitive Intaka case implicating senior ANC officials in the province, was being investigated but declined to give further details at this stage.

The Democratic Alliance's justice spokesperson Dene Smuts said Hofmeyr's integrity was beyond doubt and the investigations were a bid to intimidate him, akin to recent reports of a police probe against Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.

Her party would ask Parliament's portfolio committee on justice to come to his aid.

"We will encourage the Parliamentary justice committee to use its considerable powers under the NPA Act to scrutinise the NDPP’s performance and to stop any attempt to drive Hofmeyr out of office."

Smuts said she believed anonymous sources who told the press that Simelane wanted to shut the AFU down because this was clear in his five-year strategic plan presented to Parliament last year.

Choose

She recalled that Simelane also recently told Hofmeyr to choose between running the AFU or the SIU.

Hofmeyr appeared to have secured political backing for keeping both jobs.

Smuts said: "No-one need doubt that the referral to the police of a complaint by Dave King about allegedly improper plea bargain arrangements, together with a Nehawu criminal charge, is the latest instalment in long-running attempts to neutralise and get rid of Willie Hofmeyr.

"It can in addition be no coincidence that police charges occur at the same time as the harassment of the public protector."

Hofmeyr could not be reached for comment.

- SAPA
Read more on:    police  |  willie hofmeyr  |  menzi simelane  |  dave king  |  dene smuts  |  thuli madonsela  |  corruption
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