NEWS & ANALYSIS

Shaun Abrahams must be axed for protecting corrupt cronies – Mmusi Maimane

DA leader says NDPP has safeguarded certain individuals from prosecution

Shaun Abrahams must be axed for protecting corrupt cronies

11 July 2017

I have today written to President Jacob Zuma, calling on him to immediately suspend the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), Adv Shaun Abrahams, in line with Section 12(6) of the NPA Act, pending an enquiry into his fitness to hold office.

Since his appointment in 2015, Abrahams has overseen the complete politicisation of the National Prosecuting Authority, whereby an entrenched culture of selective prosecution has seen looting and theft of public money on a scale never seen before.

Instead of ensuring the law applies equally to everyone, Abrahams has safeguarded certain individuals from prosecution and from facing the full might of the law. His complete silence and lack of action regarding clear acts of grand corruption and state capture by a small political elite – spearheaded by the Guptas – shows he is both unfit and unable to hold the office of NDPP.

Earlier this year, I laid an array of criminal charges against those who have captured our state and stolen public money, including Atul Gupta, Ajay Gupta, Rajesh Gupta, Ashu Chawla, Nazeem Howa, Mosebenzi Zwane, Malusi Gigaba, Faith Muthambi, Des van Rooyen, Duduzane Zuma and Matshela Koko.

Since then, there has been no further action, investigation, or condemnation by Adv Abrahams nor his office. In any other functioning democracy, the allegations emanating from the leaked Gupta emails would be subject to immediate investigation. However, it appear Abrahams is hell-bent on protecting the corrupt and the connected.

We believe that our country cannot go on with a protector of criminals heading our prosecuting authority.

In addition to this, Abrahams has refused to take a decision on whether or not to prosecute President Zuma himself. In March 2014 – over 1200 days ago - I laid 8 charges of corruption against the President for his role in using the people’s money to build his Nkandla mansion.I received confirmation that the investigation into these charges “has been concluded”, and that “case docket was handed into the office of the NDPP Mr Shaun Abrahams on 21 August 2015, for a decision whether to prosecute, or not to prosecute.”

Since August 2015, this simple decision has been completely avoided. I have since written to Adv. Abrahams requesting a meeting on this matter. He flatly ignored my request.

Abrahams also instituted what were clearly politically motivated charges against former Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, wiping billions of rands off of our economy in the process.  Moreover, Abrahams’ very first act as NDPP was to drop charges against the compromised former acting NDPP, Nomgcobo Jiba, and to instead promote her. Jiba had amongst other things interfered in the Selebi prosecution and had asked the president to expunge the criminal record of her husband, Booker Nhantsi, who had stolen trust funds from clients at his legal practice.

Section 32 (1)(a) of the NPA Act states that a “member of the prosecuting authority shall serve impartially and exercise, carry out or perform his or her powers, duties and functions in good faith and without fear, favour or prejudice and subject only to the Constitution and the law”.

It is clear to anyone that Adv. Abrahams has failed this requirement – numerous times – and must be suspended pending a full parliamentary enquiry into his fitness to hold office in line with section 12(6) of the NPA Act.

I trust the President will act without delay in suspending Adv. Abrahams to restore the integrity of our prosecuting authority.

Text of letter:

 11 July 2017

His Excellency J. G. Zuma

President of the Republic of South Africa

Tuynhuys

Plein Street

Cape Town

8001

Dear Mr President,

SUSPENSION OF THE NATIONAL DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS, ADV. SHAUN ABRAHAMS

I call on you to suspend the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), Adv Shaun Abrahams, in line with Section 12(6) of the NPA Act, pending an enquiry into his fitness to hold office.

Since his appointment in 2015, Adv. Abrahams has entrenched the perception that the country’s prosecutorial services are at best deferential to the executive, and at worst politically captured by the ruling elite within government and the ANC. While this perception certainly existed before Adv. Abrahams’ appointment, his actions in office have only served to exacerbate and indeed prove the substance of this perception.

It is now simply not feasible to argue that the National Prosecuting Authority, under his leadership, acts without fear or favour and observes the principle of equality before the law. Nowhere has this been more evident in Adv. Abraham’s complete silence and inaction on the unprecedented slew of alleged crimes contained in the Gupta email leaks. Despite the obvious prima facie evidence of organised crime, corruption and racketeering contained in the evidence that is now in the public domain, Adv. Abrahams has stated that the only aspect to be investigated is the Eskom-Tegeta coal deals. In any other functioning democracy, the allegations emanating from the leaked Gupta emails would be subject to an immediate and thorough investigation.

Earlier this year, I laid an array of criminal charges against those implicated in the capture of the state for corrupt private ends, including Atul Gupta, Ajay Gupta, Rajesh Gupta, Ashu Chawla, Nazeem Howa, Mosebenzi Zwane, Malusi Gigaba, Faith Muthambi, Desmond van Rooyen, Duduzane Zuma and Matshela Koko.

Since then, there has been no further action, investigation, or any statement whatsoever by Adv. Abrahams or his office.

Even before these leaks, Adv. Abrahams’ conduct in office displayed a disregard for the Constitutional requirement of equality before the law, and showed that he would safeguard certain individuals (in particular, the President) from prosecution.

For additional example, and as I raised with you in our recent Parliamentary Questions session, Adv. Abrahams has refused to take a decision on whether or not to prosecute you. In March 2014 – over 1200 days ago - I laid 8 charges of corruption against you for your role in the abuse of public money to build your Nkandla homestead.

I received confirmation that the investigation into these charges “has been concluded”, and that “case docket was handed into the office of the NDPP Mr. Shaun Abrahams on 21 August 2015, for a decision whether to prosecute, or not to prosecute.”

Since August 2015, this simple decision has been completely avoided. During that time, I wrote to Adv. Abrahams requesting a meeting on this matter. He flatly ignored my request.

As you know, we are currently before the courts on another matter - the 783 charges relating to the alleged ‘arms deal’ corruption. Let us not discuss the merits of that matter here, but again Adv. Abrahams has not acted in a manner that demonstrates his independence of mind.

Lest we forget, it was Adv. Abrahams who decided to charge – clearly motivated by a political agenda – former Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, costing the South African economy billions of rands.

Moreover, Abrahams’ very first act as NDPP was to drop charges against the compromised former acting NDPP, Nomgcobo Jiba, choosing to instead promote her. Jiba had, amongst other offenses, interfered in the Selebi prosecution, and also asked the President to expunge the criminal record of her husband, Booker Nhantsi, a man convicted of stealing from clients at his legal practice.

Section 32 (1)(a) of the NPA Act states that a “member of the prosecuting authority shall serve impartially and exercise, carry out or perform his or her powers, duties and functions in good faith and without fear, favour or prejudice and subject only to the Constitution and the law”.

It is clear that Adv. Abrahams has failed this requirement – many times – and must be suspended pending a full enquiry into his fitness to hold office in line with section 12(6) of the NPA Act.

In fact, Adv. Abrahams is acting like someone who is compromised and has something to hide.

Over the course of a decade, the public standing and integrity of our prosecutorial arm has been damaged by successive poor appointments in the position of NDPP. As in those cases, Adv. Abraham’s credibility as NDPP is now critically and irrevocably damaged, and we believe it is now required to begin procedures to remove him.

I trust you will act without delay in suspending Adv. Abrahams and restoring the integrity of our prosecuting authority.

Kind regards,

Mmusi Maimane MP

Leader of the Official Opposition

ENDS

Issued by Mmusi Maimane, Leader of the Democratic Alliance, 11 July 2017