NPA won't prosecute Gumede

IT mogul Robert Gumede will not be prosecuted for corruption.

The National Prosecuting Authority recently informed Gumede’s former business partner and complainant in the case, John Sterenborg, that it could not find “sufficient evidence to warrant a prosecution”.

Sterenborg, who was Gumede’s business partner in the smart-card manufacturer Applied Card Technologies (ACT), laid charges of corruption against Gumede in February 2007 relating to the awarding of a multimillion-rand phonecard tender by Telkom.

ACT originally tendered for the Telkom contract, but was subsequently liquidated and bought by Gumede’s Gijima Afrika Smart Technologies (GAST).

Telkom awarded the tender to GAST in 2002 and Sterenborg accused Gumede, chairperson of listed IT company GijimaAST, of irregularly diverting business from ACT. GAST is not related to GijimaAST.

In 2007 Sterenborg laid charges against Gumede with the police that Gumede allegedly bribed Telkom executives to obtain the tender.

The case was referred by the police to the NPA’s Specialised Commercial Crimes Court (SCCC) in Johannesburg, where prosecutor Pierre Tickner declined to prosecute the matter in June 2007.

After making more representations to the NPA, Sterenborg got the case transferred back to the police who further investigated the matter.

However, Gideon Nkoana, a deputy director of public prosecutions at the SCCC, informed Sterenborg on November 2 this year that he was declining to prosecute the matter.

“After painstaking perusal and consideration of the available evidence, including the additional evidence obtained by Captain Wie [the investigating officer], I am unable to find sufficient evidence to warrant a prosecution against either Gijima [sic] or Mr Robert Gumede. I therefore decline to prosecute,” Nkoana wrote.

According to NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga, the evidence discovered by the police after the case was referred back to it “still did not take the matter any further”.

Through his lawyer, Gumede declined to respond to questions.
Sterenborg was travelling and unavailable to comment.