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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

The Role of Specialist Units in the NPA

Willie Hofmeyr

Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions

28 March 2007

Specialised units general

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 general1

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

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 scorpions1

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 operations leonard mccarthy

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

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

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

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 unit willie hofmeyr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 cases1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 unit dawood adam

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

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

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 unit anton ackerman

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

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 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

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

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

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

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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