Saturday, July 28, 2012

Mine rights fraud case is 'advanced'

28 July, 2012 22:11
Mine rights fraud case is 'advanced'
Hawks will not disclose timeline in the Sishen investigation. The police investigation into allegations of fraud against politically connected Imperial Crown Trading (ICT), which was controversially awarded a prospecting right over Kumba's Sishen mine, is at an "advanced and sensitive stage", the National Prosecuting

Authority (NPA) said.

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Kumba first half diluted earnings R23,03 vs R28,13 The investigation, which followed charges by Kumba's Sishen Iron Ore (SIOC) in August 2010, was assigned to top prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach, who withdrew from the case in November last year after a complaint was laid against her by ICT's lawyers.

Business Times understands Breytenbach has been replaced by Paul Louw, another senior advocate with the NPA.

The Hawks will not tie themselves to a timeline on the investigation, spokesman McIntosh Polela said.

"As you know, it's a very complex case. Once the investigation is complete, there will be a decision to prosecute."

ICT, whose directors include deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe's partner Gugu Mtshali and Jagdish Parekh, a business partner of president Jacob Zuma's son Duduzane, is accused of using forged title deeds in its application and lying about the date documents that formed part of its application were submitted to the Kimberley office of the Department of Mineral Resources.

Breytenbach was suspended from the NPA in April on charges relating to the ICT complaint, which her legal team argues is a smokescreen for the real reason: her refusal to drop an investigation into suspended intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.

ICT's allegations of misconduct and an improper relationship between Breytenbach and Kumba's lawyers on the ICT matter were discarded in a Northern Cape High Court ruling by Judge Hennie Lacock in May.

The NPA this week refused to disclose the identity of the prosecutor assigned to the case.

"We are not in a position to disclose names of prosecutors allocated cases which are under investigation by the police," NPA spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said.

Ronnie Mendelow, ICT's lawyer, said his client will lay criminal charges against SIOC.

The appeal lodged by ICT and the Department of Mineral Resources against a North Gauteng High Court ruling setting aside the awarding of prospecting rights to ICT is unlikely to be heard by the Supreme Court of Appeals before next year. Judge Raymond Zondo ruled in December that SIOC already holds a 100% mining right at Sishen.

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