Ex-NPA boss Menzi Simelane may have assisted in shutting down Bosasa investigation: Zondo
Up to investigating authorities to decide whether to take up the matter again
State capture inquiry chairperson Raymond Zondo believes former National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) boss advocate Menzi Simelane may have wrongly assisted in shutting down an investigation into controversial state contractor Bosasa.
This is contained in part three of the inquiry’s report released to the public on Tuesday.
Zondo, however, could not make specific findings into Simelane’s conduct because he had not been furnished with a Rule 3.3 notice alerting him of his implication in the Bosasa fiasco.
“There was evidence suggesting advocate Simelane may have wrongfully assisted in closing down the investigation into Bosasa. It is up to investigating authorities to decide whether they take the matter further, and no referral is recommended in this regard,” said Zondo.
Evidence led before the state capture inquiry reveals it was Simelane who pulled the curtains on the investigation into Bosasa.
Simelane’s move, the report revealed, was triggered by a memorandum addressed to him on February 4 2010, by then deputy director of public prosecutions in the Special Commercial Crimes Unit, advocate Glynnis Breytenbach.
In the memo, Breytenbach expressed concern that one of the main suspects in the Bosasa matter at the time was Linda Mti, who was head of security for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
She sought guidance on how to mitigate against impact Mti’s implication in the investigation.
Simelane responded by saying Breytenbach’s alarm about Mti was “mischievous to say the least”.
Simelane wrote to Breytenbach: “Firstly there is no police docket or investigation under way. Secondly, and by your own admission, there is still an assessment to be made on the evidentiary value of the information currently available. How, therefore, you can start speculating and making suggestions regarding any person is beyond belief, unless of course it is a manifestation of a mindset with predetermined outcomes.”
Simelane gave Breytenbach and her team a day to withdraw from the case and dedicate their time to cases “where there are dockets to investigate or prosecute”.
According to Simelane, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) had failed to provide an affidavit as the state organ that was also investigating Bosasa affairs and had produced a report he viewed as compromised.
His belief was, however, found offside by the SIU lead investigator in the Bosasa matter, Clint Oellermann.
“Oellermann testified he did not believe advocate Simelane to be correct and clarified that the SIU cannot open a case on matters it is investigating,” noted Zondo.
Simelane raised his views on the Bosasa matter in a meeting attended by then-ministers Jeff Radebe and Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
In the minutes of the meeting, which took place on March 9 2010, Simelane said the SIU report on Bosasa “was contaminated” and “cannot hold any water in any court”.
He also charged that the SIU investigation had breached the principle of administration of justice without fear, favour and/or prejudice and that there was a “political vendetta identified”.
In his view, there was also manipulation in the investigation after the SIU report was discussed publicly before being handed to the relevant executive authority.
What also concerned him was that police and SIU investigators who worked on the case, as well as Breytenbach and her NPA team of prosecutors, were all white.
“Mr [Angelo] Agrizzi [former Bosasa COO] testified that prior to Bosasa receiving the assistance of advocate Simelane in helping them shut down the investigation, it was very tense in early 2010 because they had wanted to close down the investigation and because there were contracts to be renewed,” reads Zondo’s report.
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