State 'not embarrassed' by Malema outcome

2015-08-04 16:48
(File: News24)

(File: News24)

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Polokwane - Separating the trials of EFF leader Julius Malema and Lesiba Gwangwa from that of their co-accused Kagisho Dichabe was never an option, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said on Tuesday.

Judge Billy Mothle earlier struck off the roll the State's case of corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering against the trio.

NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku said Dichabe was crucial to the State's case.

"If you look at the indictment, you've got money laundering and racketeering. With racketeering you don't have to establish [it], you need to prove your predicate offences."

A predicate offence is a crime that forms part of a more serious offence.

"The allegations and evidence relating to the predicate offences were centred on [Dichabe], hence we couldn't proceed with the separation of trials."

Mfaku said the State was ready to proceed with the trial on Monday.

"We wanted to proceed. We still maintain that we were ready for the trial. We had set down the matter for six weeks to ensure that we... produce our evidence in an open court."

'Not an acquittal'

Mfaku said the State was not embarrassed by the outcome of Tuesday's proceedings, saying it was the judge's decision at the end of the day.

He could not say when the State may reinstate the charges.

"I cannot comment on the when part, but what I can assure you, as I indicated initially, is that it is not an acquittal."

A director of public prosecutions (DPP) has to give permission for the charges to be reinstated.

"The prosecution team needs a certificate or an authority from the DPP to reinstate the matter. That is the process that needs to be followed."

Earlier, Mothle told the court the matter had been postponed for too long and needed to proceed.

"All parties except [Dichabe] tell me they are ready to proceed with this trial. This court is also ready to proceed. The court has no authority to make a ruling on the separation of trials."

He said no application for the separation had been made.

Earlier, Malema's lawyer Mike Hellens told the court he was ready to proceed with the trial without Dichabe. He said his team had made the State aware of this.

"A separation would have us starting this trial in half an hour if the judge made the order. Our only interest in this matter is to bring to an end."

Read more on:    npa  |  eff  |  julius malema

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