SEX TAPE ROCKS NPA

Claims have sur­faced of a video of act­ing chief in a tryst with se­cu­rity guard, giv­ing rise to fears of black­mail as the body starts in­ter­views for a new di­rec­tor

CityPress - - Front Page - Si­las Ra­maite ABRAM MASHEGO abram.mashego@city­press.co.za

Although we do not con­done hav­ing sex in the of­fices … the is­sue of how the cam­eras were placed in the of­fice of the act­ing na­tional di­rec­tor of pub­lic pros­e­cu­tions also raises se­ri­ous con­cerns about the in­ten­tions of the per­son who in­stalled them

The Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Author­ity (NPA) is be­ing racked by a sup­posed sex tape scan­dal, af­ter claims of a video al­legedly show­ing act­ing na­tional di­rec­tor Si­las Ra­maite in a tryst with a se­cu­rity guard has come to light.

This news comes as the race to be­come the na­tional di­rec­tor of pub­lic pros­e­cu­tions heats up this week, with a short-list­ing process and in­ter­views of in­den­ti­fied can­di­dates be­gin­ning to­mor­row.

The al­le­ga­tions also come in the wake of a sex video drama that hit the coun­try last Sun­day, af­ter a video of a naked Malusi Gi­gaba, the min­is­ter of home af­fairs, was leaked on­line.

Now there are fears within the deeply di­vided NPA that the video – CCTV footage that ap­par­ently shows Ra­maite in a com­pro­mis­ing sit­u­a­tion with a fe­male se­cu­rity guard in his of­fice early last month – may be used to black­mail him.

Four se­nior of­fi­cials within the state’s se­cu­rity clus­ter con­firmed the ex­is­tence of the video to City Press this week. City Press has, how­ever, nei­ther seen nor ob­tained a copy of the video.

NPA spokesper­son Lu­vuyo Mfaku would nei­ther con­firm nor deny the ex­is­tence of the video.

Three se­nior prose­cu­tors told City Press that the al­leged video was used in an at­tempt to place Ra­maite un­der pres­sure to make changes to the NPA’s lead­er­ship.

The of­fi­cial be­lieved to be be­hind the al­leged black­mail plot was said to have told Ra­maite that he was in pos­ses­sion of footage that could com­pro­mise him.

“Ra­maite was pan­ick­ing,” said one se­nior pros­e­cu­tor privy to the de­tails.

“We ad­vised him that it was ridicu­lous that some­body could want to con­trol the or­gan­i­sa­tion through black­mail.”

An­other se­nior pros­e­cu­tor said that his col­league who claimed to have the footage nursed am­bi­tions to lead the em­bat­tled in­sti­tu­tion and wanted to dis­credit any com­pe­ti­tion.

How­ever, the im­pli­cated of­fi­cial, whose name is known to City Press, slammed the al­le­ga­tion as “to­tal rub­bish”, but added that he too knew of the ex­is­tence of the com­pro­mis­ing video.

City Press un­der­stands that Ra­maite, one of the most se­nior and highly qual­i­fied prose­cu­tors in the coun­try, has not ap­plied for the po­si­tion, and it is also un­clear whether he was nom­i­nated for the top job.

SPY­ING ON THE BOSS

One pros­e­cu­tor close to Ra­maite said: “Although we do not con­done hav­ing sex in the of­fices … the is­sue of how the cam­eras were placed in the of­fice of the act­ing na­tional di­rec­tor also raises se­ri­ous con­cerns about the in­ten­tions of the per­son who in­stalled them.”

An­other pros­e­cu­tor said the video was also be­ing used to sway Ra­maite to be­come aligned to one fac­tion within the pros­e­cu­tions author­ity.

City Press un­der­stands that the video is fur­ther fu­elling di­vi­sions within the NPA that be­came glar­ingly clear dur­ing the pres­i­dency of Ja­cob Zuma. Ra­maite was be­lieved to be in­de­pen­dent of both pro- and an­tiZuma fac­tions within the or­gan­i­sa­tion, but those in the for­mer camp are now ex­tremely con­cerned that he could be black­mailed by mem­bers of the op­pos­ing fac­tion bat­tling to en­trench their dom­i­nance.

The NPA re­mains hob­bled by di­vi­sions which saw se­nior prose­cu­tors tak­ing sides in the bit­ter bat­tle be­tween for­mer na­tional di­rec­tor Mx­olisi Nx­as­ana and his now sus­pended deputy Nomg­cobo Jiba.

Mfaku said: “To the ex­tent that the al­le­ga­tions that there’s video ma­te­rial de­pict­ing the act­ing na­tional di­rec­tor in a com­pro­mis­ing po­si­tion is merely an al­le­ga­tion by un­named sources which in­fringes his pri­vacy and dig­nity and is po­ten­tially defam­a­tory to him and may re­sult in an ac­tion for defama­tion.”

Mfaku said Ra­maite could not “com­ment on the mat­ter un­til he has seen the pur­ported video ma­te­rial, [iden­ti­fied] the source of the al­le­ga­tion and the in­sin­u­a­tion which the al­le­ga­tion seeks to make, con­vey and pub­lish or com­mu­ni­cate to the gen­eral pub­lic”.

“At this stage we can only as­sume that this is the work of des­per­ate se­nior lead­ers within the in­sti­tu­tion who want to black­mail the act­ing na­tional di­rec­tor into tak­ing cer­tain de­ci­sions favourable to them,” he said.

“Sug­ges­tions that there may have been surveil­lance on him is quite wor­ry­ing and dis­turb­ing, and may re­quire fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion which may lead to ei­ther crim­i­nal or civil ac­tion.”

MEAN­WHILE, THE REAL WORK SUF­FERS

City Press has learnt of at least five cases of prose­cu­tors in­ves­ti­gat­ing other prose­cu­tors in op­pos­ing fac­tions. And while se­nior NPA staff dig dirt and fight with each other, im­por­tant cases, in­clud­ing those re­lat­ing to state cap­ture, are stalling.

A brief­ing re­port dated May 30, pre­pared by for­mer act­ing Spe­cialised Com­mer­cial Crimes Unit head Ad­vo­cate Malini Goven­der to the for­mer na­tional di­rec­tor of pub­lic pros­e­cu­tions, Shaun Abra­hams, which City Press has ob­tained, paints a bleak pic­ture about the state of sev­eral high-pro­file cases. These in­clude:

● The case laid by for­mer gov­ern­ment spokesper­son Themba Maseko, which the re­port states will only be fi­nalised by Oc­to­ber next year, the ear­li­est stage at which a charge sheet can be pre­pared. The Hawks have iden­ti­fied Ajay Gupta and Duduzane Zuma as pos­si­ble sus­pects in the mat­ter.

● The in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the ir­reg­u­lar or un­law­ful pre­pay­ment by Eskom of R659 mil­lion to Tegeta, and the in­flu­enc­ing of the sale of Op­ti­mum coal mine. The sus­pects in this case in­clude Tegeta, sev­eral pri­vate com­pa­nies and for­mer Eskom board mem­bers and some em­ploy­ees. The charge sheet is only ex­pected to be drawn up by Oc­to­ber 31 next year.

● In the un­law­ful award­ing by Transnet of a deal in­volv­ing 1 064 lo­co­mo­tives, in­ves­ti­ga­tors have re­vealed that the charge sheet will only be fi­nalised by Oc­to­ber next year, de­spite the fact that there have been three re­ports by Trea­sury and two law firms into the mat­ter.

● The case of the un­law­ful joint ven­ture of Denel and VR Laser Asia is also be­ing ham­pered by de­lays. In­ves­ti­ga­tors have iden­ti­fied for­mer Denel board chair­per­son and now Ja­cob Zuma’s lawyer, Daniel Mantsha, as a “po­ten­tial sus­pect”, and the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is only ex­pected to be com­pleted by Au­gust next year.

DUBAI RE­QUEST SENT BACK

The NPA was also dealt an­other blow this week when of­fi­cials from the United Arab Emi­rates (UAE), where the Gupta fam­ily is now be­lieved to be liv­ing, sent back South Africa’s re­quest for mu­tual le­gal as­sis­tance.

The NPA, through the min­istry of jus­tice, asked for bank state­ments de­tail­ing trans­ac­tions un­der­taken by the Gup­tas, their com­pa­nies and their as­so­ci­ates as part of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the failed Estina dairy farm in Vrede, Free State. The re­quest was sent back, City Press was told by two se­nior prose­cu­tors, be­cause it was not drafted ac­cord­ing to their pro­to­cols.

“They have said we need to redo it again the way they want it done be­fore they could con­sider it,” said one pros­e­cu­tor fa­mil­iar with the devel­op­ments.

“It is not about the re­quest, but they com­plained about the pro­ce­dure.”

An­other pros­e­cu­tor, who at­tended the 23rd In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Prose­cu­tors an­nual con­fer­ence in Sand­ton in Septem­ber, said pros­e­cu­tions of­fi­cials from the UAE snubbed them af­ter promis­ing to share in­for­ma­tion on the side­lines of the con­fer­ence.

“I re­alised that we were not go­ing to get any help when they told us to go through the nor­mal diplo­matic channels if we wanted any in­for­ma­tion,” said the pros­e­cu­tor.

In the re­quest to the UAE for mu­tual le­gal as­sis­tance, which City Press has seen, the NPA asked its coun­ter­parts to as­sist it “to as­cer­tain whether any pro­ceeds of crime ... to the value of R169 532 392.82 ($14 471 360.98)” si­phoned off from the Estina project “and paid into the men­tioned bank ac­counts in your ju­ris­dic­tion are still lo­cated within your ju­ris­dic­tion”.

The 52-page re­quest stated that South Africa was ready to send the in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer to “ad­vise in de­tail on the form in which ev­i­dence should be taken in or­der to com­ply with the re­quire­ments of South African law”.

The NPA also told UAE au­thor­i­ties that “the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is in­com­plete with­out such in­for­ma­tion”, and was “vi­tal” to the case.

Prose­cu­tors in the Estina case, which re­turns to court on De­cem­ber 4, have been fight­ing to keep the case on the roll with­out the in­for­ma­tion from Dubai.

Among the ac­cused are Gupta nephew Varun Gupta and Gupta ex­ec­u­tives Ron­ica Ragavan, Ashu Chawla and Nazeem Howa, as well as three for­mer Free State provin­cial gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials.

At the last court ap­pear­ance in Au­gust, pros­e­cu­tor Jus­tice Bakamela asked the court for a three- to six­month post­pone­ment be­cause in­for­ma­tion from Dubai and In­dia was out­stand­ing.

Mfaku de­clined to com­ment on the state cap­ture cases and fur­ther devel­op­ments.

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