NPA authenticating the #GuptaLeaks e-mails to ensure they stand up in court

20 November 2019 - 15:17 By Qaanitah Hunter
The NPA's investigative directorate head Hermione Cronje. File photo.
The NPA's investigative directorate head Hermione Cronje. File photo.
Image: Ntswe Mokoena/GCIS

The head of the National Prosecuting Authority investigative directorate, advocate Hermione Cronje, said the directorate had decided to independently authenticate evidence contained in the leaked Gupta e-mails.

She said her unit had already subpoenaed bank statements of all those implicated, so that the evidence would be admissible in court.

“If we want to use a document in court we must account for how we got it, where we got it from, what the chain of custody was. The same with leaks of e-mails. We have looked at the evidence that has been available and we looked at ways in ensuring that evidence is going to be admissible in court,” Cronje said.

Cronje conceded that there was sluggishness concerning people being charged for state capture related cases, but insisted that things were about to happen.

She said people expected that evidence presented to the Zondo commission of inquiry investigating state capture could be used to immediately prosecute those responsible for state capture, but that’s not how things work.

“When we want to take matters to court, we follow our own investigative path to ensure we don’t have the vulnerability of challenges,” she said.

Cronje said the investigative directorate and the Zondo commission had very different requirements.

“People talk to the Zondo commission; they don’t want to talk to us,” Cronje told journalists on Tuesday during a media round-table.

Cronje admitted that given the nature of the cases they are investigating, they would have to be faultless in their work.

“We are about reclaiming the state from capture. We do not do routine corruption cases. Something very unique happened in our country … something happened which requires a very specific, focused intervention,” she said.

She described the NPA as “contaminated space”, adding that the group within the investigative directorate that is focusing on capture around the security cluster is not working from the NPA office.

“The security sector focus group is working somewhere else because there are concerns about IT, concerns about every aspect,” Cronje said.

Despite the challenges facing the NPA, both Cronje and the national director of public prosecutions, Shamila Batohi, were confident that the work in the background would result in arrests.

“You will see the work that has gone on in the background and I can say that confidently now. I wouldn't have said that as confidently a week ago … because we have done stuff,” Cronje said.

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