The Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) has its eyes on assets belonging to those implicated in Advocate Terry Motau’s report, The Great Bank Heist.
City Press has learnt that hours after its release on Wednesday, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) allocated six senior officials from the unit the task of studying Motau’s report.
Last week, five prosecutors from the Specialised Commercial Crime Unit (SCCU) were assigned to tackle the criminal case against those implicated.
“The aim is to establish whether the assets belonging to the individuals cited in the report were proceeds of crime.
"This process is independent of the criminal investigation and the purpose is to preserve the assets while the investigation continues,” said one prosecutor privy to the details.
The prosecutor said once that process was completed, the NPA would launch court applications for preservation orders.
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“All we have to do is convince the court that the assets were accumulated through illegal means. The onus is on the accused to prove that the assets were acquired through legitimate means,” said another prosecutor.
NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku declined to comment, but confirmed a team “made up of prosecutors, financial investigators and asset forfeiture specialist lawyers” was appointed on Wednesday.
Mfaku said Hawks detectives investigating the looting at VBS Mutual Bank were being led by Marijke de Kock, deputy head of the Pretoria SCCU, with four other prosecutors providing prosecutorial guidance.
The AFU’s investigation was led by regional heads Priya Biseswar and Chris Ndzengu, assisted by the NPA’s chief financial investigator, JP Willemse.
“We have also appointed asset forfeiture specialist lawyers to assist the team studying the report,” Mfaku said.
Dodgy dealings as the bank declined