he National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is preparing criminal charges against former SA Revenue Service (Sars) boss Ivan Pillay, former Hawks head Anwa Dramat and top prosecutor Gerrie Nel.
City Press understands that recently appointed National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams has taken a decision to charge the three, along with a number of their former colleagues, in connection with two different cases.
Two senior NPA officials told City Press that Pillay, Nel, NPA investigator Andrew Leask and former Sars employee Andries Janse van Rensburg – who headed the organisation’s alleged rogue spy unit – were all set to be charged in connection with the alleged bugging of the NPA’s Pretoria headquarters in 2007.
Dramat and his former colleagues – Gauteng Hawks head Major General Shadrack Sibiya and Pretoria Hawks boss Colonel Leslie Maluleke – are set to be charged soon for their roles in the rendition of five Zimbabweans in 2010.
None of the individuals has been informed that decisions have been taken to criminally charge them. However, City Press understands that Abrahams will be making an announcement on the matter at a press conference scheduled to be called in the next two weeks.
Approached for comment this week, Pillay confirmed that he knew nothing about the charges, and said he had nothing to add. In terms of his settlement agreement with Sars, he is not permitted to speak to the media.
Sibiya, Dramat and Maluleke declined to comment. Nel did not respond to requests for comment and Leask could not be reached.
Abrahams has in the meantime also decided to drop charges against his deputy, Nomgcobo Jiba.
Jiba was scheduled to appear in Pretoria’s Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on August 19 on two charges of fraud and one of perjury related to her handling of the case against KwaZulu-Natal Hawks head Major General Johan Booysen.
City Press has learnt that the NPA is set to withdraw as a complainant in the matter. The NPA is also set to challenge the ruling of Judge Trevor Gorven who, in his judgment, accused Jiba of lying under oath in the same matter. Two sources told City Press the NPA was preparing a condonation application for late filing that would pave the way for an appeal against Gorven’s judgment.
City Press has also learnt that Abrahams has decided not to continue with the review of a dropped criminal case against Specialised Commercial Crimes unit head Lawrence Mrwebi on a charge of defeating the ends of justice.
Abrahams’ predecessor, Mxolisi Nxasana, appointed Advocate Barry Roux to review the case gainst Mrwebi, who allegedly interfered in a case involving a close colleague. City Press has learnt that Roux’s mandate has been terminated. Roux declined to comment. Former NPA prosecutor and spokesperson Nathi Mncube, who laid the charges against Mrwebi, said: “A week or so ago, I was advised by the prosecutor that the NPA would not proceed with the prosecution.”
Senior sources told City Press that both Jiba and Mrwebi had been informed of the decisions to halt proceedings against them.
During his first press conference as national director of public prosecutions a month ago, Abrahams told reporters that he was not a member of any faction within the NPA. He had previously been reported to have been close to the so-called Jiba faction within the organisation, to which Mrwebi is allied.
Yesterday, NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku would neither confirm nor deny the decisions to charge Pillay, Nel, Dramat and their former colleagues.
“When the [national director] addressed the NPA staff, media and the public, he committed himself to regular engagement with the media and the public on matters that attracted media and public interest,” he responded by SMS.
“The NPA leadership intends to engage the media soon on those matters. The issues you have raised will be addressed during the soon-to-be-convened media briefing,” he continued.
“We do not intend to engage the media on a piecemeal basis. We do not comment on information from faceless sources and information peddlers within the NPA whose sole objective is to destabilise the institution.”
The impending charges against Pillay relate to his alleged authorisation of an illegal operation in 2007, called Project Sunday Evenings, intended to spy on former NPA head Vusi Pikoli and other senior NPA officials who were part of the team investigating corruption allegations against then national police commissioner Jackie Selebi.
Nel and Leask allegedly spent R900 000 on bugging equipment for the operation. At the time, the two were members of the now disbanded Scorpions unit.
The allegations are contained in sworn affidavits that Hawks officers recently deposed to from members of Sars’ alleged rogue unit – Helgard Lombard and Johan de Waal. Janse van Rensburg, also known as “Skollie”, was the unit’s former head.