Media briefing on progress made by the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster in the fight against corruption
09 Jun 2013
Government representatives included Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Jeff Radebe, Minister of State Security, Siyabonga Cwele, Deputy Minister of Police, Maggie Sotyu, and Deputy Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Mr Andries Nel.
Minister Radebe read out the statement.
Question: Thank you very much Minister Radebe, may I just confirm whether the list has been shared? If not, can it be shared please, including for the Ministers as well?
Minister Radebe: The list of those convicted individuals is going to be posted in the website of all JCPS cluster department, as well as the GCIS.
Journalist: You focus very much on the successes, which are very strong, but on the other hand there have been problems with criminals who are found guilty of corruption just with changing to other departments. Is this database of convicted people and those under suspicion going to be sort of somewhere in government’s database so that they can’t move around within government?
Minister Radebe: You should also be aware that through National Treasury those companies in particular who are guilty of any form of corruption can be blacklisted so that process will be monitored in that way to ensure as well that those who are found to have been convicted within government departments should not move from one department to the other. So with the creation of this database I think it will go a long way in resolving the issues that has been raised.
Journalist: And also the fact that you are making the statement now shortly after the NPA’s failing with Fidentia, I mean is it not just a case of trying to show that government can be successful in the light of that failure?
Minister Radebe: On the issue of this list, this has nothing to do with Fidentia, this is part and parcel of our programme of action as the JCPS Cluster where we announced months ago that there would come a time when I would be starting a process of naming all people who have been convicted of fraud and corruption within the State or in the private sector. So it has nothing to do with any case that the NPA might have won or lost.
Journalist: Minister Radebe, with the various reports questioning the credibility of the NPA, what would be a word of confidence for this fight against crime please?
Minister Radebe: On the issue of the NPA I want to reiterate as well that we have hard working prosecutors throughout South Africa. The announcement that we are making today is a further indication of the work that is being done diligently by prosecutors throughout South Africa; of course, working with other government departments such as the Police and, of course, at the end of the day it is the Judiciary that has to find a person guilty or not guilty. But from where we stand we are satisfied that all Cluster departments, and also this one that has been asked about the NPA, they are working very hard to ensure that they bring criminals to book, as precisely what their job is.
Journalist: With regard to the process of expediting I know Minister Sisulu is concerned with that with her Anti Corruption Bureau, but the long suspensions and the long process of rooting out and dealing with officials involved with corruption, how is that going to be addressed?
Minister Radebe: Well I think Minister Sisulu clarified that the Anti Corruption Bureau that resides in the Department of Public Services and Administration (DPSA), is precisely to deal with civil servants who are involved in a kind of misconduct or the other in order to ensure that they are dedicated officials who are going to be presiding over those disciplinary matters that involve fraud and corruption that they must be concluded within a period of 90 days. So that is precisely the mandate of the DPSA to ensure that they expedite all those processes so that we don’t find a situation where a civil servant who is being accused of corruption or whatever the case may be is on special leave one year, two years, by the time he is being charged he or she resigns. So that is the aim of the Anti Corruption Bureau.
Journalist: Minister if I could follow up, is no thought being given to the equation of specialised courts for corruption of government officials?
Minister Radebe: When you read the statement you will realise that there are specialised courts in all nine provinces that has given rise to conviction of more than 3000 corrupters and corruptees within the public and private sectors.
Minister: Minister may we just make a really special appeal to the media because I think the question of corruption is something that requires partnership; a special appeal to the media to give prominence to what we are saying here today. Because this is the kind of information that should inspire people, both in the public as well as the private sector, to come forward and bring more information and more cases, so let this not find it’s way to some remote corner of your news pages.
The media briefing was adjourned.
Media statement on progress made by the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster in the fight against corruption
The fight against corruption remains one of the major priorities of government because in both private and public sector, corruption has a detrimental effect on government’s effort to deliver effective services to the people.
In line with the Justice, Crime, Prevention and Security Cluster’s commitment to deal with corruption, we will today release a list containing names of people who have been convicted of fraud and corruption. This action is evidence that Government has adopted a zero tolerance approach to the fight against all corrupt activities either in the public or private sector.
This aggressive stance has been initiated to ensure that, for the first time in the history of our democracy; criminals in our society will be made known, and held accountable for their actions publicly.
The aim is to send a strong message to criminals that their actions will not go without scrutiny in the public domain. To this effect, it also aims to deter others from engaging in corrupt and criminal activities.
The framework for the fight against corruption in the country is also in line with international practices, such as, the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), Southern African Development Community (SADC) protocol against Corruption and Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Convention on Combating Bribery on Foreign Officials in International Business Transaction.
In promoting good governance and transparency, various bodies and institutions have been working together to combat corruption. This joint effort shows the commitment by government to deal with corruption. The JCPS Cluster’s Anti- Corruption Task Team (ACTT) continues to work with government departments to strengthen governance systems, reduce risks and prevent corruption.
The ACTT was established in 2010 by President Zuma as an interdepartmental body comprised of National Prosecution Authority (NPA), Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU), South African Revenue Services (SARS), HAWKS, Special Investigation Unit (SIU), Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) and National Treasury to fast-track investigations of high-priority and high-profile corruption cases. For the 2012/13 financial year, criminal investigations had been recorded against 242 accused persons in 89 priority cases involving serious corrupt incidents. These involve R5 million or more per incident. In terms of the investigations against the 242 persons, further investigations are progressing against 193 accused; 2 persons were acquitted and the charges were withdrawn against 14 accused, whilst 42 persons have already been convicted. These 42 names are mainly cases which were prioritized because of the huge amounts involved but other names from a long list of over 3000 convicted individuals will be released later.
I will not go into the details of the various cases involving the 42 individuals, as the list will be provided at the end of this briefing, however I do wish to give some indication of some of the matters involved:
In the Post Bank case, a syndicate managed to obtain access to computer system of Post Bank. They transferred funds to Post Bank accounts created with the specific purpose of committing fraud and theft. The total amount involved was R42, 782. 500.00. Boy Meshack Thekiso, David Mtsoane and Teboho Masoleng were sentenced to 25 years, 15 years and 15 years respectively while the case against Kabelo Kekana is still on going and postponed to 22 July for further investigations.
In the Department of Minerals & Energy-BAS case, the department employees obtained BAS System Control login details by installing keystroke logging software on the computer of the BAS Controller. These access details were then used to re-activate the profiles of former employees of the department with the necessary access rights to record, confirm and approve payments on the BAS system. A total of 9 sundry payments totaling R15, 081, 824.49 were then made using these re-activated profiles. Two syndicate members Petros Mngomezulu and Simon Zungu were convicted and sentenced to 8 years imprisonment.
A syndicate gained access to SARS systems (Midrand, Gauteng) with the corrupt assistance of a SARS employee and a consultant contracted by SARS. They fraudulently changed banking details on the system to divert and affect fraudulent refunds to the value of R77 million into the syndicate’s bank accounts. Six individuals, namely, AliRaza Naqvi, Mazhar Raza Syed, Zaheer Seedat, Samuel Thabo Gouwe, Audella Makhubu and Fiza Naqvi were involved in this case were arrested and convicted. 3 accused persons were sentenced to effective 24 years imprisonment while other 3 were given 10 years suspended for 5 years.
The Alfred Nzo District Municipality in Mt Ayliff, EC, was defrauded of amounts totaling R28 million through payments of ghost employees, tender overpayments, fraudulent vouchers and requisition orders. Three employees of the municipality, Ms Clementina. Hlabi, Ms Joyce.Ngcawe, and Mr D N Sopoli were arrested and convicted.
Another case relates to fraud amounting to R6.8 million where Marthie Fredrika Mulder, Andries Albertus Hermanus Mulder and Frederik Johannes Kruger defrauded firm of attorneys and received 20 years, 15 years and 5 years imprisonment terms respectively.
A full list of the 42 individuals will be provided at the end of this briefing.
Most of the serious corruption related cases are dealt with in the Regional Court Specialized Commercial Crimes Courts. For the period 2012/13 they received 10 941 new cases, and obtained convictions against 3 968 persons (813 being foreign nationals) in 3 763 cases with 35 833 counts. 152 JCPS Cluster employees have been successfully convicted for corruption.
The ACTT has further indicated that in addition to the statistics provided above, a total of 758 persons are currently under investigation for corrupt activities and in total freezing orders to the value of R1.07 billion have been obtained. The R1.07 billion include forfeiture orders for R14.7 million brought against the former CEO of the Land Bank, Mr. Philemon Mohlahlane and Gauteng businessman Mr. Dan Mofokeng who defrauded the Land Bank and transferred funds to a range of outside entities for their own benefit. A number of farms owned by the Department of Rural Development and Land Affairs in KZN were fraudulently transferred to persons who were not entitled to them. The farms were part of the Land Reform program and were earmarked for transfer to trusts representing rural communities. The total value of the farms forfeited to date is R113 million.
The SIU has also been successfully conducting investigations pursuant to Presidential proclamations, and have referred various serious corruption cases to law enforcement agencies. In this regard the SIU received 34 proclamations during the period 2009 until 2013. The SIU currently has 25 active proclamations that are being dealt with, 10 from national government, seven from provincial government, six from local government and two from state owned enterprises.
Seven proclamations had been finalised in the 2012/13 financial year, 15 are envisaged for finalisation in the 2013/14 financial year and 10 in the 2014/15 financial year. Of the current investigations, 67% focus on procurement and irregularities in Supply Chain Management. The SIU has also contributed to investigating 38 criminal cases in terms of the Limpopo intervention involving irregularities to the amount of R153.7 million, and it assisted the DPSA on 41 disciplinary cases relating to the Limpopo intervention.
The AFU completed forfeiture 302 cases in the past financial year with a value of R118,4 million. The success rate of the AFU over this period was about 95% (289 cases). In addition 276 new freezing orders were obtained for the past financial year to the value of R518 million.
In the past 18 months, the AFU (as part of the ACTT) working with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform have recovered through forfeiture farms to the value of R59 million lost through corruption, which can now be used for proper service delivery to the poor in the land reform program. Another 5 farms to the value of R74 million have been frozen and should be recovered soon. Further farms with a total value of more than R52 million are currently under investigation for possible seizure in the next six months. A comprehensive list of forfeiture orders will also be provided at the end of this briefing. The JCPS Cluster will leave no stone unturned to ensure that no one enjoys ill-gotten gains and wealth amassed from unlawful activities.
The fight against crime requires that we deal effectively with corrupt officials whose actions undermine the integrity of the criminal justice system and the work of the JCPS cluster as a whole. Within the realm of disciplinary procedures 794 matters have been finalised in relation to corruption and related charges internally within the JCPS departments during the period 1 April 2012 – 20 April 2013. The average turnaround times for the past financial year have been tracked, and generally fell within a 3 month period.
Government has also strengthened the anti-corruption measures through the National Anti-Corruption hotline which is monitored monthly.
It is clear from the preceding information that government is resolute in dealing with corruption as a priority area. This is further borne out by the common purpose in this regard which has been eloquently inculcated in the vision for 2030, as contained in the National Development Plan relating to the fight against corruption, and which states – Our vision for 2030 is a South Africa that has zero tolerance for corruption.
In 2030, South Africa will be a society in which citizens do not offer bribes and have the confidence and knowledge to hold public and private officials to account, and in which leaders have integrity and high ethical standards. Anti-corruption agencies should have the resources, independence from political influence, and powers to investigate corruption, and their investigations should be acted upon.
As the JCPS cluster, we make this undertaking that we will continue to provide such capacity and decisive leadership to fight corruption where and when we find it. This is driven by our commitment to ensure that all citizens are and feel safe.
I thank you
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