Hawks raid OCJ officials' homes after Sunday Times investigation
The Hawks on Tuesday raided the homes of three former Office of the Chief Justice (OCJ) officials. They are accused of irregularly benefiting from a R225m IT contract.
Hawks spokesperson Capt Lloyd Ramovha said officers “simultaneously descended on the premises of the three implicated individuals this morning around Pretoria and Kempton Park” after the OCJ laid criminal charges.
The Hawks did not name the suspects, but Ramovha said they included the OCJ’s “former chief financial officer, former spokesperson and former case management director”.
“The OCJ reported the matter to the Hawks and hence the search and seizure operation to obtain documentary and electronic evidence,” he said.
“The preferred charges would be that of fraud, corruption in terms of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (PRECCA) and the contravention of the Cybercrime Act. [There have been] no arrests as yet as investigations continue.”
The raid follows a Sunday Times investigation published in June in which the newspaper reported that former CFO Casper Coetzer, former spokesperson and chief director of court administration Nathi Mncube and former case management director Yvonne van Niekerk were accused of setting themselves up for a large slice of the contract after they helped strike the deal.
Their last day at the OCJ was May 31. The next day they started new jobs as local partners to multinational media and technology organisation Thomson Reuters, which was awarded the contract by the OCJ. The three stood to earn 30% of the deal’s value, or at least R67.5m.
The contract related to the national rollout of CaseLines, a digital court case management system.
The OCJ reported the matter to the Hawks and hence the search and seizure operation to obtain documentary and electronic evidence.Hawks spokesperson Capt Lloyd Ramovha
In response to the Sunday Times, Mncube said they had done nothing wrong because their contract began on June 1 and their company, ZA Square Consulting, had not earned any income until May 31 when their employment at the OCJ ended.
At the time, Coetzer said there was nothing untoward about his company bidding for work on the contract.
“We decided to create this company after the award was made ... Our decision was definitely only made afterwards. I was against subcontracting [in the bid adjudication committee], so I could not have tried to manipulate this process,” he said.
“I do not see it as a conflict based on the timing and the facts ... There is nothing to do to prove to you what was in my mind at that time in December ... On December 10 I did not even contemplate this.”
Thomson Reuters also said there was nothing untoward about the contract, but instituted an investigation into it.
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