News / South Africa

Gosebo Mathope
3 minute read
7 Mar 2018
1:17 pm

Breytenbach: Shaun, your job isn’t rocket science, stop throwing Hawks under the bus

Gosebo Mathope

Abrahams was accused of following instructions to let the Gupta brothers off the hook and delay their arrests until the end of the ANC elective conference.

Former NPA senior prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach in the Pretoria North Magistrate’s Court. PHOTO: ANA Reporter

National Director of Public Prosecutions (NPDD) Shaun Abrahams’s assertion this morning during a joint parliamentary committee hearing on state capture investigations that he did not delay prosecutions was met with disdain by former National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) senior prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach.

Breytenbach, a DA member of the justice and constitutional portfolio committee who was recently acquitted on charges of deleting information from her NPA-issued laptop, told Abrahams he was desperately seeking to exonerate himself of dereliction of duty when he said the docket submitted by the Hawks to NPA had deficiencies, as it did not factor in the flight risk presented by the suspects.

“Mr Abrahams made a song and dance about his work, and it is not difficult. It can be done. I have been there, done it and got the T-Shirt. It is painfully clear that this whole process has been politically driven for as long as Jacob Zuma was president,” Breytenbach said.

Directly addressing Lieutenant-General Yolisa Matakata, the acting head of the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigations (DPCI), or Hawks, said in her 26 years of being a prosecutor she had not once witnessed an incident where the NDPP willfully chose to throw his own colleague under the bus to avoid the blame for the woeful delay that let the Gupta brothers, Ajay and Atul, escape the law.

READ MORE: Shaun Abrahams says he did not delay state capture arrests

She said the real reason the arrest of the Estina Dairy scandal and the main culprits in the state capture project, the Gupta brothers, were not arrested as expected within the timeframes given by Abrahams was because the NDPP had been politically instructed not to arrest any of the Gupta brothers until the ANC national conference took place in Nasrec in December 2017.

Breytenbach was joined in her straight-talking and tough questioning by fellow DA MP Dianne Kohler-Barnard, who put it to Abrahams she was not convinced the entire thing was done to protect the Gupta family by politicians. She pleaded with joint chairpersons Francois Beukman and Dr Mathole Motshekga to invite former police minister Fikile Mbalula to come attest to whether Matakata never reported the delays to him.

Abrahams had earlier told the committee that while he appreciated the cordial working relationship he shared with Matakata, duly required documents expected of the DPCI with supporting evidence were not provided.

“A fully investigated docket was not presented by the DPCI. They were given a go-ahead in February 2018. It is clear that the NPA prosecutors did not drag their feet, the docket was only presented in August 2017. Matakata never took this up with me, I was completely surprised by comments to Parliament,” Abrahams said.

“If the NPA is not satisfied that there is a prima facie evidence to enroll the matter, how can prosecutors do so? The DPCI is aware that they can arrest any suspect without a warrant. If the prosecutors are not satisfied that there is a prima facie evidence, the suspect will be released and the matter thrown out of court.”

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