EXCLUSIVE: NPA declines to prosecute Hawks in Vlok Symington 'hostage' drama
The National Prosecuting Authority has declined to prosecute four Hawks members who were accused of holding suspended SA Revenue Service official Vlok Symington hostage in a boardroom last year.
Nearly a year after the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) recommended criminal charges relating to kidnapping‚ assault and intimidation against the four Hawks officers‚ Brigadier N Xaba‚ Colonel HW Maluleka‚ Lieutenant Colonel S Palaza and Captain MF Sewele‚ the NPA has told Ipid there is no prospect of a successful prosecution.
In a letter dated 24 October 2017‚ addressed to the Ipid chief director of investigations‚ which TimesLIVE has seen‚ acting public prosecutions director for Gauteng George Baloyi says Symington’s various statements over the incident were “contradictory”.
Ipid spokesman Moses Dlamini on Tuesday confirmed Ipid had received the letter.
Symington‚ who was suspended on charges relating to the boardroom drama‚ has taken the fight for his job to the Pretoria High Court.
An internal disciplinary hearing was last week postponed pending the outcome of court proceedings. Symington has alleged that he is being hounded for his role in revealing how the Hawks allegedly engineered charges against former finance minister Pravin Gordhan.
During the standoff‚ Symington had refused to hand over documents to Hawks investigators and Moyane’s bodyguard‚ Thabo Titi. The documents‚ relating to the fraud charges against Gordhan‚ were sent to Symington in error.
Symington has told Ipid that SARS and the Hawks allegedly conspired to withhold documentation from the NPA that would have prevented them from charging Gordhan.
The NPA charged Gordhan with fraud for approving an early retirement payout to SARS commissioner Ivan Pillay. In 2009‚ Symington‚ a legal pension expert‚ wrote a memo which advised it was lawful for Pillay to retire early and access his pension.
This memo was withheld from the NPA‚ and when it emerged‚ national director of the NPA Shaun Abrahams was forced to withdraw the charges.
“I have considered all the statements and affidavits on which a charge of kidnapping‚ assault and intimidation is based‚” Baloyi’s letter reads.
“There are a number of material contradictions in the version of Mr Symington that renders the prospects of a successful prosecution very remote.”
Baloyi then says that Symington made two statements‚ on 24 October and 25 October last year‚ in which he differs on how the documents were eventually taken from him.
Baloyi also says that a statement by another SARS official contains details he does not mention.
The letter appears to confirm that there was some kind of altercation between Symington and the other men as they tried to wrest the document from him.
“All the accused state that when Mr Symington left the boardroom he wanted to make copies of the documents‚ yet Mr Symington gives the impression that he was leaving the meeting as it was not making sense to him in order to return to his office‚” Baloyi writes.
“On his [Symington’s version]‚ he adopted an uncompromising stance regarding the release of the document and would not even listen to his own supervisor or the Commissioner himself‚ through his bodyguard.
“Had he offered his co-operation‚ the incident would not have occurred‚” Baloyi continues.
A request for further comment was sent to the NPA‚ however a response was not immediately forthcoming.