NPA gives back 'Rasool' affidavit

2010-07-02 21:17

Cape Town - The National Prosecuting Authority says it has returned the affidavit of the journalist at the centre of the Rasool affair to the reporter's lawyers.

In a statement issued by its Western Cape office on Friday, it confirmed that it had "informally" received the affidavit from a lawyer acting for former Cape Argus political reporter Ashley Smith.

"After consideration of the contents of the affidavit, the NPA feels that it is premature to consider an application for indemnity as requested by Mr Smith," the NPA said.

"The lawyer of Mr Smith has been advised to refer the matter to the police for investigation, if he so wishes.

"Should the matter be referred to the DPP [the Western Cape director of public prosecutions] by the police, a decision on indemnity may be considered."

When he submitted the affidavit this week, Smith asked for indemnity against any possible criminal charges.

He said in the affidavit that he and another Argus staffer took payments to write articles promoting Ebrahim Rasool, who was then Western Cape premier.

He said in the document that Rasool had used himself and his colleague as his "front line of attack" against rivals in the African National Congress, particularly provincial secretary Mcebisi Skwatsha.

Rasool, who became a member of the National Assembly after he was axed from the premiership by his own party in 2008, is South Africa's ambassador-designate to Washington.