VBS arrests: NPA has sought legal advice on any possible delay tactics, Batohi says

Shamila Batohi.
Shamila Batohi.
GCIS
  • National Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi wants the VBS prosecution concluded as speedily as possible. 
  • She is aware those implicated will seek to delay the case through interlocutory applications. 
  • Batohi says the prosecution team will be thorough in handling evidence. 

National Director of Public Prosecutions, advocate Shamila Batohi, said the NPA has sought legal counsel on how to deal with any efforts by those implicated in the VBS saga to delay their prosecutions.

In a briefing on Wednesday, Hawks head General Godfrey Lebeya announced that members of the Hawks conducted a simultaneous search and seizure operation in 10 premises in Gauteng and Limpopo provinces and they executed warrants of arrest on four suspects while three other suspects are expected to hand themselves in today.

The eighth suspect has been affected by Covid-19 and is currently in quarantine.

Those arrested for their role in the heist of more than R2 billion from VBS will appear in court on Thursday.

MUST READ | VBS gang goes down - here's everything you need to know

Batohi said while it was imperative to speedily finalise the matter, the team working on the matter has to be "meticulous and painstakingly go through the evidence with a fine tooth comb".

Batohi said:

What we have found in a number of high profile cases is that there is a strategy to delay matters and to deal with a number of interlocutory applications and the prosecution can't really control that
Shamila Batohi, NPA

She said the NPA sought legal advice on the matter. 

"What we decided is that as the NPA we will take a much more vigorous stance, with regard to these dilatory tactics. We have sought counsel’s views on this," Batohi said.

Pressure

She said the pressure to prosecute this case was immensely enormous.

"We are going to have a strategy that we are putting together to ensure that tactics that tend to be employed to delay these cases will be much more vigorously opposed by the NPA," Batohi said.

News24 reported that VBS "kingpin" Tshifhiwa Matodzi had been one of those arrested in the operation.  

When asked whether politicians are being investigated in the matter, Batohi said the prosecutor-led team would be guided by the evidence.

"We are really determined to ensure that what people have termed probably the biggest bank robbery in this country that those who had anything to do with this is held accountable," she said.

Batohi added: "Wherever the evidence takes us we will ensure that you know the rule of law prevails."

She said the arrests mark an important step in the progression of the matter and she was pleased with the team working on the case since August 2018.

The NPA head noted that there was still a lot of work that lies ahead for the prosecution. She would not comment on what the NPA's stance would be on bail when the suspects appeared in court.

"We have to do this in order to ensure at the end justice does prevail and the rule of law prevails as well," she said of the prosecution team's efforts to get to the bottom of the corruption, fraud and racketeering that saw hundreds of millions stolen.

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