OPINION

On the Vrede Dairy investigation - Hawks

Yolisa Matakata says arrest warrant for Ajay Gupta is on an unrelated charge of corruption

Address by the Acting Head of Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata, on Estina investigations and others

Good afternoon

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation extends its condolences to the families of the five police officers who were brutally gunned by an unknown gang of suspects in Ngcobo on Wednesday morning.

We pray that the families that they are bestowed with the strength to endure in this moment of grief.

A multi-disciplinary team that has been assembled is carrying out extensive work on the investigation and therefore we are confident of a breakthrough.

I’m here to give you an update and put the record straight on the Hawks Estina investigation.

After a tremendous amount of work over the last year, the Hawks completed its first phase of the investigation in November 2017 and referred the matter to the National Prosecuting Authority for a decision.

I want to thank the Hawks Serious Corruption Investigation team who did remarkable work in this case. Once you have a better sense of how much we have done, you will understand why I am so grateful and proud of their efforts.

On the 26th of January 2018 the investigation the team executed search and seizure operation at the Free State department of Agriculture and the Premiers office.

A lot of documentation and electronic equipment were confiscated. The following day the same team went to Vrede where they obtained statements from the intended beneficiaries of the Vrede Dairy Project.

On return, the information was collated and sent to the NPA for them to make a decision which led to the arrest of eight (8) suspects on 14th February 2018 in and around Gauteng as well in the Free State Provinces.

All suspects appeared at the Bloemfontein Regional court on the 15th of February 2018 and were granted bail of between R10 000 and R200 000. The case has been postponed to the 17th August 2018.

On the same day the Hawks made a public announcement that there was a warrant of arrest against Mr Ajay Gupta. The warrant of arrest against Mr Ajay Gupta is on an unrelated case of corruption and it is still active until it is executed.

At the moment the investigation is liaising with his lawyers who have written to us and we have responded accordingly.

It should be noted that the arrest of the 8 suspects was phase one of our broader state of capture investigations. It is neither a procedure nor policy to prematurely reveal pending investigations and or sought suspects as, this will compromise our ongoing probes.

There has been various sentiments and views attributed to these investigations. We respect the different views and opinions however it must be noted that only ourselves as the Hawks who are seized with this investigations can talk with authority and nobody else.

I want to assure the nation that as the Hawks we are not influenced in anyway: be it politically or otherwise. All our investigations are being done competently, honestly and independently without outside influence of any kind.

We will continue to pursue and investigate these complex matters without any fear and favour.

In conclusion we would like to appreciate the South African public, the media, civil society organisations for their continuous support.

Thank you.

Issued by Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi (National Hawks Spokesperson), South African Police Service, 23 February 2018