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The Role of Specialist Units in the NPA. Willie Hofmeyr Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions 28 March 2007. Specialised units - general. A number of specialised units were set up to develop a focussed approach to crime that is complex or where convictions are difficult

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The Role of Specialist Units in the NPA

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The Role of Specialist Units in the NPA

Willie Hofmeyr

Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions

28 March 2007

Specialised units - general

  • A number of specialised units were set up to develop a focussed approach to crime that is complex or where convictions are difficult

  • Traditional investigations and prosecutions were delivering poor results

  • Learnt from international best practice, but also significant innovation in SA

  • Ensures that required skills are developed and retained

Specialised units - general

  • Focus on integrating work of police and prosecutors

    • avoid failures in the “hand-over”

    • legal challenges to investigation procedures

  • Often involve co-location of police and prosecutors

Origins of DSO (Scorpions)

  • Office for Serious Economic Offences (OSEO)

    • Separate agency to deal with serious economic crime - based on UK SFO

    • Police & prosecutors co-located and work together on cases - successful in dealing with sophisticated economic crime

    • Power to compel self-incriminating answers

  • NPA Act (1998) included OSEO in the NPA

    • As Investigating Directorate called IDSEO

    • Also extended the concept to organised crime

Origins of DSO (Scorpions)

  • IDOCs set up to deal with terrorism in W Cape, political violence in KZN, hijackings in Gauteng

    • Close cooperation with police and intelligence proving increasingly vital

  • Model proved very successful in dealing with organised or complex crime

    • In KZN effective combination of investigation and prosecution was vital in reducing political violence and allowing space for political solutions

    • In W Cape the terror attacks by Pagad was dealt with in very short time

Directorate of Special OperationsLeonard McCarthy

  • DSO was formed in late 1999 to incorporate IDSEO and IDOC and build on their successes

  • A major innovation was to create a single entity to house investigators, prosecutors and analysts

  • Enabled an integrated approach between the different components

  • And a more coherent national approach

  • Major focus areas:

    • Serious organised crime

    • Sophisticated economic crime and corruption


  • Capacity:

    • Built significant capacity – about 500 people

    • Attracting right skills is challenge

    • Deal with matters where extensive litigation is the norm

  • Budget

    • Much more required to deal effectively with mandate

    • Will increase significantly over next 3 years

    • Staff to grow to about 750


  • Investigations finalised: 1 500

  • Arrests to date: 1 600

  • Cases finalised: 1 100

  • Conviction rate has been 80% - 90%

  • Contraband seized: R5 bn

  • Used new offences effectively against organised crime

    • Money laundering

    • Racketeering

Organised crime

  • Important benefit of the DSO has been ability to target threats pro-actively

  • Convictions syndicate leaders: Staggie Stansfield, Greens

  • Operation Yield platinum smugglers – R250m

    • 13 arrests

  • Operation Guanxi Chinese triads – abelone

    • Arrests: 335

    • Convictions: 111

    • Restraint order: R20m

    • Contraband seized: R3bn

Sophisticated economic crime

  • Has significantly increased capacity of state to deal with massive commercial crime

  • Often marked by sophisticated frauds or serious corporate governance failures

  • Hyundia / Rautenbach – fugitive

  • Leisurenet: 2 directors convicted

  • Macmed – prosecution of 3 top managers

  • Saambou - prosecution of 3 top managers

  • Regal Bank – prosecution of CEO

  • Specialised Outsourcing - prosecution of King

  • JCI – Empire K


  • Major focus area of DSO –

    • mainly cases referred by government

  • Arms deal cases

    • Yengeni, Shaik, Zuma

  • Malatsi, Marais, Augusta

  • Mangaung mayor, speaker, COO

  • Para statals – significant no of cases

  • Work with SAPS in Eastern Cape on JACT

    • 100’s convicted

Notable cases with AFU

  • Scale of cases reflected in joint cases with AFU

    • Nearly R1.5bn frozen in over 200 cases

  • Mohammed and Chohan – to prison

    • R10m returned to victims

  • Hout Bay Fishing – R30m forfeited

  • Golden Arrow Bus Service – R6m forfeited

    • R45.5m returned to Dept of Transport

  • GEMS – about R60m to be returned to union members who were defrauded by micro lender and union officials

  • SASOL – R15m, Gayadin R10m

Asset Forfeiture UnitWillie Hofmeyr

  • Forfeiture was little used before 1998 because of complex civil litigation

  • AFU set up in May 1999 to ensure effective use of Prevention of Organised Crime Act

  • Main objectives:

  • To increase the volume of cases

    • To build capacity to do more cases and make a real impact in the fight against crime

  • Developing the law

    • To do test cases and create legal precedents that allow the effective use of the law

Method of operation

  • AFU works closely with SAPS, DSO, SCCU and National Prosecutions Service

  • SAPS detectives work in task teams with AFU

    • Co-location in AFU office very effective

    • Ensure criminal investigation properly done

    • Develop expertise in asset tracing and financial profiling

  • Building capacity to do forfeiture:

    • 80 AFU staff and 40 SAPS

    • Additional funding to increase to 140 staff

Increasing volume of cases

  • Results:

  • To date: 1 175 freezing orders, value R1.9bn

    • 06/07: 233 freezing orders, value R730m

  • To date: 890 cases completed, value R525m

    • 06/07: 235 cases completed, value R 96m

  • Overall success rate between 85% and 92%

  • R117m paid into special fund to fight crime

  • More than R250m paid to victims of crime

Developing the law

Total judgements obtained:

  • To date: 202 judgements, 67% favourable

  • In 06/07: 31 judgements, 81% favourable

    Supreme Court of Appeal, Constitutional Court

  • To date: 24 judgements, 67% favourable

    • Have won 11 of last 14 decisions (79%)

Conviction based forfeiture

  • Very powerful tool to take profit out of crime

  • Conviction based forfeiture is similar to normal civil judgement

    • Money judgement for the amount of benefit

    • Can recover all gifts made in last 7 years

    • Assumption once convicted that all property owned is proceeds

    • In most cases can take all property as it cannot be explained

Civil forfeiture

  • Forfeit property that is proceeds of crime or used to commit crime

    • independently of outcome of criminal trial

  • Have to prove case on balance of probability rather than beyond a reasonable doubt

    • Allow use of circumstantial evidence

  • Useful to deal with organised crime and corruption where it is often difficult to obtain convictions

Notable cases

  • Ronny Johnny Smith – acquitted on drug dealing charges, R6m civil forfeiture agreed

  • Falk: German fraudster R70m frozen

  • Shaik finalised – will pay about R40m

  • David King – obtained freezing orders in Guernsey and UK

    • for as much as about R1 billion

  • Delport – customs fraud of R350m

    • largest ever number of assets seized in SA – about R80m

National Special Services Division - Silas Ramaite

  • Other specialist units grouped in NSSD

    • Specialised Commercial Crime Unit

    • Sexual Offences and Community Affairs

    • Priority Crimes Litigation Unit

    • Witness Protection Unit

Specialised Commercial Crime Unit – Chris Jordaan

  • Focus on prosecution of complex commercial crime cases from SAPS

  • Started June 1999 after study found only 15 commercial crime convictions in Jhb in 1997

    • Now Pta & Jhb does more than 700 pa

  • Partnership with SAPS, DOJ&CD and business

    • Prosecutors in same building as investigators and they work case together from outset

    • Court in same building minimises delays

    • Business has contributed skills and resources


  • Screen cases to ensure scarce resources used on cases with most merit

  • Conviction rate above 94% every year but 1

  • Will obtain more than 1 400 convictions in 06/07

    • More than 60% increase from 05/06

    • More than 500 plea bargains

    • 134 cases of direct imprisonment

    • Sentences of more than 5 years are common and several over 15 years

Building capacity

  • Offices: Pretoria, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, Durban, Cape Town and Bloemfontein

    • East London soon

  • Built partnerships: special projects to focus on

    • Road Accident Fund cases

    • Intellectual Property cases

  • Capacity:

    • 101 staff with another 59 posts to be filled

    • Finding correct skills is a challenge

    • Treasury has provided significant increase in budget over next 3 years

Notable cases

  • Kalmeyer: international kidney trafficking, syndicate recruited “donors” from Brazil to supply kidneys to rich Israeli patients

  • Porrit: one of the most sophisticated investment scams yet. 3 160 charges from fraud and racketeering to statutory offences

  • Ghavalas: charges of pension fund fraud involving R400m

Corruption cases

  • Has built capacity for state to deal effectively with corruption investigations and prosecutions:

    • Tshavunga: DDPP in NPA

    • Keet: ex magistrate

    • SAPS: Zondeki (Dir), Du Preez (Sen Supt)

    • Other senior officials

Sexual Offences and Community Affairs- Thoko Majokweni

  • Set up in 1999 to ensure better focus on issues affecting women and children

  • Working towards a National Anti-Rape Strategy focussing on prevention, reaction & support

  • 365 day National Action Plan for no violence against women and children

  • Public education campaigns

  • Participate in implementation plan for the Victim’s Charter

  • Inputs to law reform

  • Part of human trafficking task team

Domestic violence

  • Provide integrated domestic violence training

    • Developed of accredited standards

  • Developed minimum standards of service delivery and victim assistance and management

  • Training for traditional leaders

  • Skills program to develop registered facilitators and assessors on domestic violence for prosecutions


  • Establish maintenance prosecution capacity

    • 10 senior and 70 junior maintenance prosecutors appointed

    • Another 68 sites identified

  • With DOJCD appointed 171 maintenance investigators

  • Developed maintenance manual and training

  • Project to ensure effective and efficient service delivery

Child Justice

  • National interim protocol for dealing children awaiting trial

  • Case review teams to reduce the number of children awaiting trial

  • Audit of number of children diverted and awaiting trial in prison

  • Minimum standards for diversion programmes, standardisation and accreditation of current programmes

  • Provincial Child Justice Fora – monitor the management of young offenders

Focus on sexual offences

  • Specific focus on improving quality of investigations and prosecutions

  • General regional courts: conviction rate is about 45%

  • Developed dedicated courts with additional prosecutor, special training and better care for victims:

    • Increased conviction rates to about 65%

    • Nearly 62full-time courts established

    • Magistrates with necessary training

    • Dealing with most of sexual offences now

Thuthuzela Care Centres

  • 10 TCCs developed as best practice model

  • Focus on victim – provide one-stop service

    • Police bring victim to health site where all support services are available

    • District surgeon, social workers, NGOs, etc

    • Site coordinator, case manager, victim assistance officer, court preparation officer

  • Maximise effectiveness in prosecution

    • Prosecutors, police and district surgeons

    • Work together as a team from outset

  • TCC, Wynberg – conviction rate of 80% - 90%

Witness Protection UnitDawood Adam

  • Effective protection of witnesses vital when dealing with serious organised crime

    • Do not hesitate to bribe, intimidate or kill

    • Often have to use witnesses from inside

  • In 2000 when NPA took over WPU, there were severe financial mismanagement, complaints by witnesses and the killing of a high-profile witness

  • Since then it has been turned around:

    • Today it enjoys the confidence of the public

    • It is highly regarded internationally and often held up as a best practice model

New operating model

  • Developed specialised operating model

  • Ensure 24 hours a day 7 days a week operations

  • Remove witness from danger area within 1 hour

  • Increased focus on complete care for witness

    • Including better care after release

  • About to incorporate SAPS protectors in WPU

  • Witnesses on programme - 241

  • Still challenge to build extra capacity

  • Related Persons - 270

Successes over past 5 years

  • Since Dec 2000, not a single witness or relation has been harmed or killed

    • In only 1 case was a relation threatened

  • Outcomes from evidence in court:

    • Conviction rate: - 90% (in last yr)

    • Jail terms: - 12 350 years

    • Life sentences: - 781

  • Voluntary Walk Offs - down from 40% to 3%

  • No. of Grievances - down from 90% to 1%

  • Length of stay: - down from 4 to 2 yrs

Priority Crimes Litigation UnitAnton Ackerman

  • Manages and directs investigations and prosecutions relating to national and international security (working with SAPS and DSO):

    • Criminal prosecutions from the Rome Statute

    • Crimes against the State, including national and international terrorism

    • Contraventions of:

      • Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction Act

      • National Conventional Arms Control Act

      • Nuclear Energy Act

      • Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act

    • Cases arising from the TRC

TRC prosecutions

  • Prosecution Policy guidelines approved early 2006

  • A multi-departmental task team was established to evaluate all cases emanating from the TRC process and make recommendations to the NDPP

  • 16 matters identified for investigation

  • S v Van Zyl & Another (Pebco 3) indicted in High Court pending review of Amnesty decision

  • About 150 cases disposed off before guidelines

TRC Missing persons

  • TRC reports 477 missing person cases

  • Burial sites of 33 missing persons have been located and exhumed

    • Assisted by the Argentine Anthropology Forensic Team, the world leaders in this field

  • 21 bodies have been positively identified by means of forensic analysis

  • 14 of these have been handed over to the affected families

  • Assisted Namibia in the exhumation of mass graves

Nuclear proliferation

S v Asher Karni

  • In 2005, the Cape Town businessman, pleaded guilty in a US Federal Court to charges relating to exporting nuclear weapons technology to Pakistan

  • PCLU played a key role in securing evidence which led to his conviction

    S v Geiges & Wisser & Krisch Engineering

  • Largest case in the world of international nuclear proliferation relating to 2 directors of a SA company who supplied nuclear weapons technology to Libya’s clandestine nuclear weapons programme

  • This case is linked to the AQ Khan network

Proliferation of chemical and biological warfare agents

S v African Amines

  • First prosecution for contravening the Weapons of Mass Destruction Act

  • Company exported commercial chemicals which could have been converted into chemical warfare weapons to Iran and Australia

Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act

Attempted overthrow of Equatorial Guinea govt

  • Investigation resulted in the following convictions:

    • S v Mark Thatcher * S v Krause Steyl

    • S v Harry Carelse * S v Louwtjie Horn

  • S v Archer & 6 Others

    • acquitted on basis that they were unaware that conduct was unlawful

      Activities in the Ivory Coast

      S v Roget: Convicted a French citizen who recruited mercenaries in SA for the Ivory Coast govt

      S v Alberts: Convicted of serving as a helicopter pilot

National Conventional Arms Control Act

S v Nedlloyd:

  • In 2005 Nedlloyd shipping company pleaded guilty to transporting armaments to the Saudi Arabian Defence Force without the necessary conveyance permits

  • First prosecution under the Act

    S v Campbell:

  • An employee of a local arms manufacturer under false pretences caused components of missiles to be manufactured and exported to Pakistan.

  • The accused was convicted and fined R220 000.

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