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18 Aug 2012 18:04
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize (Madelene Cronje, M&G)
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize on Saturday rejected calls by the Democratic Alliance (DA) for him to provide answers as to why charges against two provincial ANC officials implicated in a fraud and corruption case were dropped.
Mkhize criticised the Democratic Alliance, saying the party was misleading the public into believing the provincial government had a hand in the case against provincial legislature speaker Peggy Nkonyeni and economic development MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu.
Mkhize said they were looking for answers from the wrong people.
"The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) must account for its decisions to charge, arrest and withdraw these charges," said Mkhize.
The NPA announced on Friday that acting provincial director of public prosecutions Moipone Noko had withdrawn charges against six people, including the two officials.
The group had been implicated in the Intaka case.
"Upon a thorough and interrogative assessment, available evidence including consultations with some key witnesses, the acting Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in consultation with the prosecution team felt there are no prospects of a successful prosecution; therefore these charges cannot be sustained against them during trial," provincial NPA spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson said.
Noko was appointed in July after KwaZulu-Natal's acting head of prosecutions Simphiwe Mlotshwa was ousted, reportedly for refusing to withdraw the charges against the two politicians.
The amigos case
The DA said the withdrawal of the charges against Nkonyeni and Mabuyakhulu would leave gaping holes in the State's case and would make a mockery of any effort to bring those implicated in the Intaka scandal to book.
The six were linked to the sale of water purification plants to the KZN health department, allegedly at inflated prices.
Initially, 25 people were implicated in the in the so-called "amigos" corruption case, which will be heard on October 1 in the Durban High Court.
The "amigos case" is a corruption matter involving Uruguayan businessman Gaston Savoi.
Savoi's company, Intaka, allegedly paid bribes to ensure that a contract to supply water purifiers and oxygen generators to hospitals, at hugely inflated prices, went its way.
He will go on trial with former provincial treasury boss Sipho Shabalala, who allegedly received a R1-million donation for the ANC.
The provincial legislature said on Friday that it welcomed the dropping of the charges. – Sapa.
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