Row brews over de­ci­sion

The Citizen (KZN) - - News - Rorisang Kgosana

Na­tional Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions (NDPP) Shamila Ba­tohi’s de­ci­sion to with­drew charges against three for­mer se­nior South African Rev­enue Ser­vice (Sars) of­fi­cials has sparked a na­tional row and could face court ac­tion in the 10-year long saga which brought Sars to its knees.

Judge Jo­hann Kriegler, chair of Free­dom Un­der Law, said in a state­ment the with­drawal of the charges meant “bad news for the [ex-com­mis­sioner Tom] Moy­ane moles left lurk­ing in Sars, and for their em­bat­tled ally, the pub­lic pro­tec­tor”.

“It is no doubt also a grave dis­ap­point­ment for cer­tain re­source­ful politi­cians, one-eyed con­spir­acy the­o­rists, me­dia gos­sips and other ‘use­ful id­iots’ of the state cap­ture brigade,” Kriegler said.

“Sadly, how­ever, they’re un­likely to be de­terred by facts.”

Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Au­thor­ity spokesper­son Bulelwa Makeke said on Fri­day night fol­low­ing the de­fence’s rep­re­sen­ta­tions, Ba­tohi ap­pointed a re­view panel to con­sider the mat­ter and to pro­vide her with an opin­ion and rec­om­men­da­tions.

“The panel com­prises di­rec­tor of pub­lic pros­e­cu­tions Barry Madolo, act­ing di­rec­tor of pub­lic pros­e­cu­tions Ad­vo­cate In­dra Gober­dan and deputy di­rec­tor of pub­lic pros­e­cu­tions Ad­vo­cate Adrian Mopp,” Makeke said.

“In line with the above, the NDPP has care­fully con­sid­ered the panel’s re­port, the ev­i­dence and other rel­e­vant ma­te­rial, and held dis­cus­sions with the panel. The NDPP agrees with the panel that there are no rea­son­able prospects of a suc­cess­ful pros­e­cu­tion in this mat­ter.”

The charges against all the ac­cused will be with­drawn at their next ap­pear­ance in court.

Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers (EFF) leader Julius Malema said yes­ter­day it was “in­creas­ingly clear that the new NDPP works for the Pravin Gord­han fac­tion and was ap­pointed pre­cisely to block this rogue unit case and any other case seek­ing to hold him ac­count­able”.

Malema said the EFF was go­ing to chal­lenge the de­ci­sion.

“It was al­ready in court, and they pleaded. So, let’s de­mand a neu­tral judge hear the mat­ter. Not a de­ployee of Gord­han,” Malema said in a swipe at Ba­tohi.

Demo­cratic Al­liance shadow min­is­ter of jus­tice and cor­rec­tional ser­vices Glyn­nis Breyten­bach ap­plaued the de­ci­sion.

“The with­drawal of the charges] speaks for it­self. Those peo­ple who have pro­moted this mat­ter and other sim­i­lar mat­ters in the crim­i­nal courts need to do an in­tro­spec­tion.

“This is not a game to de­stroy peo­ple’s and their fam­ily’s lives,” she said.

“Shamila Ba­tohi has made not only the cor­rect de­ci­sion, but a coura­geous one. It in­di­cates a NPA get­ting back on track.”

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