Ramaphosa makes change to witness culpability rules in state capture inquiry

2018-03-23 17:16
President Cyril Ramaphosa. (GCIS)

President Cyril Ramaphosa. (GCIS)

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A technical amendment over criminal culpability was made to the regulations guiding the state capture inquiry on the instruction of President Cyril Ramaphosa, the Presidency said on Friday. 

"On the basis of legal advice, the president has amended regulation 8(2) to limit the inadmissibility of such evidence to circumstances where a witness may incriminate themselves," the Presidency said.

Regulation 8(2) previously stated: "No evidence regarding questions and answers contemplated in sub-regulation (1), and no evidence regarding any fact or information that comes to light in consequence of any such questions or answers, shall be admissible in any criminal proceedings, except in criminal proceedings where the person concerned is charged with an offence in terms of section 6 of the Commissions Act, 1947 (Act No. 8 of 1947), or regulation 12.

The change Ramaphosa ordered came after submissions received by the Presidency from the Helen Suzman Foundation and AfriForum, which suggested that the regulation may undermine efforts to prosecute anybody implicated in criminal activity in the commission which is headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

READ: State capture inquiry starting on wrong foot – EFF

Regulation 8(2) now reads: 

"A self-incriminating answer or a statement given by a witness before the commission shall not be admissible as evidence against that person in any criminal proceedings brought against that person instituted in any court, except in criminal proceedings where the person concerned is charged with an offence in terms of section 6 of the Commissions Act, 1947 (Act No. 8 of 1947)."

Section 6 of the Commissions Act states that any witness who does not testify as agreed, or finish testifying, or produce any document or book or information required, is liable to a fine.

Terms of reference released by Zuma

Regulation 12 of the Commissions Act makes anybody who insults or belittles any member of the commission liable to a fine.

The amendment to the regulations would be published in the Government Gazette on Friday.

The commission of inquiry, which is headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, is part of the recommendations by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela in her state capture report.

READ: Former AG Terence Nombembe to head investigations in state capture inquiry

Madonsela recommended that the commission be given 180 days to complete its work and 30 days to report back on its investigation and recommendations.

Former president Jacob Zuma released the terms of reference and regulations for the inquiry on January 25.

In the terms of reference, Zuma said the commission must investigate whether, by whom and to what extent attempts were made, through any form of inducement or for any gain, to influence members of the national executive, including deputy ministers, office bearers and directors of the boards of state-owned entities.

Zuma also stated that the inquiry should investigate all forms of government corruption, including allegations against him, his Cabinet ministers, the Gupta family and state-owned entities.

Read more on:    anc  |  jacob zuma  |  ramaphosa  |  cyril  |  state capture  |  state capture inquiry

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