Wednesday, December 21, 2011

SIU gets yet another acting boss

The Directorate of Special Operations (also, DSO or Scorpions) was a multidisciplinary agency that investigated and prosecuted organised crime and corruption. It was a unit of The National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa. Its staff of 536 consisted of some of the best police, financial, forensic and intelligence experts in the country. It was officially disbanded late in January 2009 by South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, after coming into conflict with the crooked head of the South African Police Service, Jackie Selebi.

SIU gets yet another acting boss
2011-12-21 14:45

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Carien du Plessis, City Press
Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma has replaced the acting head of the special investigating unit (SIU), Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba, after less than a week in the job.

Zuma said in a statement she would be replaced by the deputy national director of public prosecutions, Advocate Nomvula Mokhatla, as acting head.

No reasons are given for the sudden change.

Jiba was appointed last week after Advocate Willem Heath, who had been in the job less than two weeks, resigned following remarks he made to City Press about former president Thabo Mbeki’s alleged involvement in prosecuting Zuma.

Zuma’s spokesperson, Mac Maharaj, said there were no “profound” reasons for Zuma’s decision to replace Jiba.

“The appointment was temporary and until further notice. There is nothing in the law that stops the president from making temporary appointments,” he said.

There is also nothing in the law that compelled him to do so, Maharaj said.


A sarcastic Maharaj said that Jiba might have been replaced because she could have decided to go on holiday.

Jiba’s appointment raised eyebrows because of her history.

She was suspended from the NPA in 2007 for allegedly assisting the police in its campaign to save former police chief Jackie Selebi from prosecution, but fought her suspension.

Her temporary appointment was announced last week by Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, but Mokhatla’s appointment on Wednesday was announced by Zuma himself.

Mokhatla has served in the litigation unit of the justice department.

She practised as an advocate at the Pretoria and Johannesburg bars before that.


Read more on: siu | nomvula mokhatla | jacob zuma | mac maharaj | nomgcobo jiba | willem heath


South Africa's new priority crimes unit

Share | 10 July 2009

South Africa's new Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), to be known as the Hawks, will target organised crime, economic crime, corruption, and other serious crime referred to it by the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service (SAPS).

The new unit replaces the National Prosecuting Authority's Directorate of Special Operations, which was known as the Scorpions, and has inherited the core of the Scorpions' investigative capacity, as well as all the cases it was busy handling.

The head of the Scorpions, and Scorpions special investigators based in the Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape, have started relocating to the Hawks, which falls under the SAPS.

Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa has appointed Western Cape Deputy Commissioner of Police Anwa Dramat to head the new unit.

Speaking at it the launch of the Hawks in Johannesburg this week, Dramat said the fight against crime in South Africa required an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach.

"A genuine commitment to working together is the key ingredient to meeting our objectives," Dramat said. "We have to move away from the 'silo' approach that is prevalent in so many of the structures tasked with combating crime and corruption.

"We need to agree on a partnership and a multi-disciplinary approach that will benefit all South Africans."

The unit has formed a close working relationship with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, the National Treasury, the Financial Intelligence Centre, the South African Revenue Service, and the Department of Home Affairs.

While the Hawks' organisational structure is being finalised, the functions of the SAPS's Organised Crime Unit, Commercial Crime Unit and High Technology Project Centre are expected to be transferred to the DPCI.

Mthethwa, also speaking at the Hawks' launch, said stringent selection and vetting procedures would ensure that the DPCI was staffed with investigators of the highest quality.

At the same time, Mthethwa noted that most Scorpions investigators had opted to join the new unit and be part of the SAPS.

The minister said he was confident that the transitional measures put in place, including the formation of joint operational management teams from the Scorpions and the SAPS, would ensure a smooth transition from the Scorpions to the Hawks.

Source: BuaNews

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Special Investigating Unit (SIU)

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) of South Africa is an independent statutory body that is accountable to Parliament and the Presdent. It was established to conduct investigations at the President’s request, and to report to him on the outcomes thereof.

The SIU was created in terms of the Special Investigating Units and Special Tribunals Act, 1996 (Act No. 74 of 1996). The SIU was initially headed by former Judge Willem Heath, who resigned in June 2001 after the Constitutional Court ruled that a judge could not head the SIU. The SIU then formally ceased to exist.

A new SIU was established in July 2001 through a presidential proclamation.

The SIU functions in a manner similar to a commission of inquiry, in that the President refers cases to it by way of a proclamation. It may investigate any matter set out in Section 2 of the SIU and Special Tribunals Act, 1996, regarding:

■serious maladministration concerning the affairs of any state institution;
■improper or unlawful conduct by employees of any state institution;
■unlawful appropriation or expenditure of public money or property;
■any unlawful, irregular or unapproved acquisitive act, transaction, measure or practice that has a bearing on state property;
■intentional or negligent loss of public money or damage to public property;
■corruption in connection with the affairs of any state institution;
■unlawful or improper conduct by any person who has cause to or may cause, serious harm to the interest of the public or any category thereof.
The SIU litigates its cases in the Special Tribunal, a specialised court that deals specifically with its cases. This avoids some of the delays usually associated with civil litigation. The focus of the SIU is the public sector, but it also deals with private sector accomplices. It can investigate private sector matters that cause substantial harm to the interest of the public.

As the focus of the SIU is on civil litigation, it does not have the power to arrest or prosecute suspects. When it uncovers evidence of criminal activity, it hands a court-ready docket to the South African Police Service (SAPS) and/or the Scorpions (DSO).

The SIU also works closely with the Natonal Prosecution Service (NPS), the core prosecuting division of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), to ensure that prosecutions take place as soon as possible. It also works with the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) in cases where the powers of this unit are more suitable for recovering the proceeds of crime.


State corruption bombshell
March 31 2011 at 09:28am
By Deon de Lange



The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) on Wednesday provided a rare glimpse into rampant corruption in the government when it told Parliament that 16 departments and public entities were under investigation for fraud, corruption and maladministration.

National police commissioner Bheki Cele, who is already under fire for his role in a multi-billion-rand headquarters lease in Pretoria, faces new questions after the SIU revealed that the construction of 33 police stations - valued at more than R330 million - was under investigation for “significant irregularities”.

The SIU has prioritised investigations into the Pienaar, Hazyview, Brighton Beach and eSikhawini police stations after an initial probe revealed fraud and corruption that included SAPS officials having undeclared interests in suppliers awarded work by the police; the lowest quotations not being accepted; no quotations received from winning bidders; and actual payments far exceeding budgeted costs.

SIU chief Willie Hofmeyr told visibly shocked MPs from the National Assembly’s justice committee on Wednesdaythat more than half of the government’s approximately 10 000 subsidised housing projects were suspect. This included instances where “contractors were paid for building houses which may not exist at all; were extensively incomplete; seriously defective; or were paid for more houses than were built”.

He said the investigation by public protector Thuli Madonsela into the Pretoria and Durban police office leases was “only one part of a far wider investigation” into the police’s procurement division.

So widespread is corruption at this department that the SIU has been forced to prioritise only the 20 “top cases”, which alone total over R2 billion.

At the SABC the SIU uncovered that between September, 2007 and March last year, about 20 employees had undeclared interests in firms that did business with the broadcaster to the tune of R2.4bn. This follows an earlier auditor-general investigation that uncovered corruption involving 20 SABC employees to the tune of R3.4m.

According to Hofmeyr, a joint investigation with the Brixton commercial crimes unit had so far resulted in eight criminal cases, of which five had been referred to the National Prosecuting Authority. “There is serious criminality that is being investigated at the SABC,” said Hofmeyr.

The Department of Public Works is being investigated after the SIU discovered that R35m had been paid to entities in which department officials had undisclosed business interests. A contract issued by this department for the construction of “accommodation” at an undisclosed border post - valued at R375m - was also under the microscope.

The public protector has already slammed Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde for “unlawfully” entering into the police headquarters lease in Pretoria. Now the SIU is looking into another Pretoria lease, this time for a single residence which the department had leased as “residential accommodation” at an astronomical R217 000 a month - without “relevant approval”. The contractor had been “positively linked to a DPW official”.

The Department of Arts and Culture is being probed for misusing funds ring-fenced for the 2010 World Cup.

The Tshwane Metro had paid R185m between 2007 and 2010 to businesses in which 65 municipal staff members had either had undisclosed interests or, brazenly, were the vendors doing business with their own municipal council. Further procurements of R80m were also under investigation.

Ten waste management tenders at the Ekurhuleni Metro - valued at R500m and involving 19 different contractors - were under investigation. In one of these, payments totalling R37.8m had been made to service providers without delivery notes and no one at the metro could confirm whether the goods were ever delivered.

Also in Ekurhuleni, information and communication technology contracts worth R32m had been awarded to a company with which the municipality’s executive director of IT services had an undisclosed relationship.

“He has since resigned and is now employed full-time by the company,” Hofmeyr said to astonished gasps from MPs. And the municipality’s director of infrastructure had admitted to approving invoices valued at R12.4m for services that were never delivered.

The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform is being probed - at the request of minister Gugile Nkwinti - in what is likely to be the country’s biggest-ever “data uplifting project”.

So far, fraud and corruption charges have been laid against three officials and a KwaZulu-Natal businessman relating to land reform grant fraud totalling R50m. And working with the Hawks and the Assets Forfeiture Unit, the SIU has seized KwaZulu-Natal farms worth a further R50m.

The SIU can only investigate at the request of a department or government entity - and only after the president has signed a proclamation authorising such a probe.

President Jacob Zuma has signed 16 proclamations for the 2010/2011 financial year, including one proclamation to investigate all 23 municipalities in North West.

Asked by one MP whether South Africa was losing the fight against corruption, Hofmeyr said: “I think we should all accept that corruption is a serious problem in our country, but I am hopeful that we will make good progress over the next few years.”

He also said he was encouraged by the fact that the president had issued 16 SIU proclamations - the most in a single year - and that “significant resources” were being devoted to the problem. - Political Bureau

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