NPA’s safe-house parties

2016-07-24 19:06
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Johannesburg - Fresh criminal charges have been laid against Dawood Adams, the legal adviser to prosecutions boss Shaun Abrahams.

Adams allegedly used safe houses as holiday homes for National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) bigwigs and for university accommodation for his children.

Earlier this month, charges of fraud, corruption and theft were laid against him by a former colleague, apparently in revenge after the colleague was fired from the NPA.

The man, Muziwendoda Twala, used to work for the Witness Protection Unit (OWP). He laid charges against Adams at the Durban Central Police Station on July 7.

The new charges relate to a 2007 report by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU). Details of the charges are being revealed now for the first time. The SIU found that a penthouse in the trendy Cape Town suburb of Sea Point had been “abused”.

A witness told investigators how “the property was used during holidays” by senior officials and their families. A house cleaner had allegedly found bottles of alcohol, chip crumbs, cigarette butts and used condoms in the flat. The case has again been handed over to the Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit for further investigation.

Adams, the OWP’s former head, and Ronnie Borcherds, national co-ordinator of the NPA, are both under investigation again.

NPA spokesperson Bulelwa Makeke confirmed the case was reopened, but said the “current criminal charges [stemmed] from a disgruntled witness protection official who was recently found guilty of serious misconduct”, and who had since been fired.

The SIU report, obtained by City Press, also alleges Adams and Borcherds, who was head of operations at the time, used the penthouse in Sea Point for braais, parties and holiday outings for families and friends.

The report also alleges that Adams allowed his sons to live in a different Sea Point apartment – one that was intended for use by protected witnesses – while they were studying in Cape Town in about 2006. His sons left the flat after the NPA’s Integrity Management Unit began investigating the allegations.

The SIU had recommended that Adams refund the state at least R58 080 that it paid for in rent.

NPA insiders told City Press that Adams had “reached a settlement to pay back the money”.

But the SIU report recommended “criminal action be considered against Mr Adams”.

No charges

According to the sworn statement made to police this month, however, no charges were pursued.

The report also found that Borcherds allegedly abused OWP funds and instructed junior staff to advance him R13 500 – money which he allegedly failed to repay.

The report alleged, too, that Borcherds submitted fictitious travel claims for what was described as covert operations – and these were not recorded.

Furthermore, the report said Borcherds received more than R1m in “suspicious” payments – not related to his salary – and the SIU recommended that criminal charges be laid, and a lifestyle audit conducted on him.

But according to the affidavit at Durban Central Police Station, no such action was taken.

In 2007, Adams and Borcherds were placed on special leave, but successfully challenged the suspension for procedural flaws.

Reinstated

They were reinstated in about October 2009.

Makeke said that, in 2009, the justice ministry declined to institute action against Adams after having consulted then acting national director of public prosecutions Mokotedi Mpshe.

After the NPA received the SIU report, former deputy director of public prosecutions Riegal du Toit decided there was “no prospect of a successful prosecution”.

But the SIU head at the time, Willie Hofmeyr, was unhappy with the decision and asked Mpshe to refer the report and Adams’ responses to the Special Commercial Crimes Unit.

The matter was handed to then deputy director of public prosecutions Glynnis Breytenbach, who also declined to prosecute for the same reason.

And the labour court ruled in favour of Borcherds and Adams, both of whom have vigorously denied the allegations.

Makeke said the Office of the Auditor General conducted a special audit of the OWP and found that the SIU and the allegations were “inconsistent” with the findings of the Auditor-General.

“For the record, since 2002 to date, the [OWP] received unqualified reports from the Office of the Auditor General.

“In 2010, Adams was recalled by former national director [of public prosecutions] Advocate Menzi Simelane, who profusely apologised for what Mr Adams was subjected to,” she said.

Read more on:    npa  |  siu  |  shaun abrahams  |  cape town

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