Published on January 22, 2008
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 - general: 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 (Scorpions): 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 OperationsLeonard McCarthy: Directorate of Special Operations Leonard 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: Capacity 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 Successes: Successes 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 Corruption: Corruption 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 UnitWillie Hofmeyr: Asset Forfeiture Unit Willie 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 Successes : Successes 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 cases: 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 Maintenance: Maintenance 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 62 full-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 UnitDawood Adam: Witness Protection Unit Dawood 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 UnitAnton Ackerman: Priority Crimes Litigation Unit Anton 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.