Batohi and NPA to get more teeth with Scorpions-like anti-corruption unit

2019-02-07 21:17
Advocate Shamila Batohi. (Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)

Advocate Shamila Batohi. (Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)

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New National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Shamila Batohi will be getting a new unit to investigate state capture-specific allegations of corruption, President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced.

Ramaphosa told both Houses of Parliament during his State of the Nation Address on Thursday that tackling corruption was crucial in dealing with poverty, unemployment and inequality.

"The revelations emerging from the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture and other commissions are deeply disturbing, for they reveal a breadth and depth of criminal wrongdoing that challenges the very foundation of our democratic state.

"We commend these commissions for the work they are doing, often under challenging circumstances, to uncover the truth."

While the commission would in time make findings and recommendations in line with its mandate, evidence of criminal activity that emerges must be evaluated by the criminal justice system, Ramaphosa said.

"Where there is a basis to prosecute, prosecutions must follow swiftly and stolen public funds must be recovered urgently.

"To this end, we have agreed with the new National Director of Public Prosecutions, that there is an urgent need to establish in the office of the NDPP an investigating directorate dealing with serious corruption and associated offences, in accordance with section 7 of the NPA Act.

No interference

"I will soon be promulgating a proclamation that will set out the specific terms of reference of the directorate.

"In broad terms, the directorate will focus on the evidence that has emerged from the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture, other commissions and disciplinary inquiries."

It would identify priority cases to investigate and prosecute, and would also recover assets identified to be the proceeds of corruption.

"The NDPP will be acting, and I'd like this to be very clear, the NDPP will be acting in terms of the rule of law, without any favour, without any prejudice, she will execute her task as enshrined in the Constitution," he said to applause.

The Directorate would bring together a range of investigatory and prosecutorial capacity from within government and in the private sector under an investigating director reporting to the NDPP, Ramaphosa added.

Batohi, a guest in the president's box on Thursday night, smiled as Ramaphosa continued with his speech.

She assumed office on February 1.

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