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21 Mar 2014 06:59
Uruguayan businessperson Gaston Savoi. (Gallo)
The Constitutional Court declined on Thursday to declare parts of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (Poca) invalid.
The matter relates to racketeering, fraud, corruption and money laundering charges faced by Intaka Holdings director and Uruguayan businessperson Gaston Savoi, his company and Intaka industrial director Fernando Praderi.
The state alleges Intaka sold water purification plants to the KwaZulu-Natal health department at inflated prices.
Earlier, Savoi sought an order in the high court of Durban to declare the definitions of "enterprise" and "pattern of racketeering activity", in a section of Poca, as overbroad and void for vagueness.
He also wanted that section of the Act, which creates offences based on those definitions, be declared unconstitutional.
The high court found that the disputed paragraphs were unconstitutional to the extent they contain the words "ought reasonably to have known".
Not void for vagueness
Savoi, in an application to the Constitutional Court, wants the Constitutional Court to confirm the order of constitutional invalidity.
In a unanimous judgment, the Constitutional Court found the definition of "pattern of racketeering activity" was clear and thus was not void for vagueness.
The court held that while laws must be written in clear and accessible terms, this did not require perfect lucidity.
It said the acceptable standard was no higher than reasonable certainty.
The court held the impugned provisions meet this standard. – Sapa
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