/ 31 March 2008

NPA tracks down alleged ‘poison’-letter sender

The person allegedly responsible for sending a letter suspected to be laced with poison to the office of National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) acting head Mokotedi Mpshe has been identified.

NPA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said on Monday that the authority’s security and risk unit had made ”significant headway” relating to the letter, received in March, which affected five NPA staff members.

”The identity of the person we allege is the author … is known to the NPA and the matter has been referred to the police for criminal investigation.

”The person has been sent to a mental institution for psychiatric evaluation,” Tlali said.

Once the evaluation was concluded, it would be decided whether the person had a case to answer, ”provided the mental institution confirms that the said person is fit to stand trial”.

He said while the contents of the letter were related to the ”business of the NPA”, they had nothing to do with the high-profile cases currently under investigation.

The NPA is currently prosecuting a major drugs case expected to include testimony from Glenn Agliotti, accused of murdering mining entrepreneur Brett Kebble. It is also involved in the prosecution of African National Congress president Jacob Zuma and police National Commissioner Jackie Selebi.

Tlali added that the letter was now ”a matter of criminal investigation” and it would ”not be proper to comment further”.

Meanwhile, the authority had concluded the process, spurred by the incident, of ”revisiting” its mail-handling processes. — Sapa