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Treasury throws weight behind state capture case - Wierzycka

Jan 21 2018 14:16
Lameez Omarjee

Cape Town – National Treasury and the minister of finance will file supporting documents in a case tackling state capture.

This is according to Sygnia Asset Management CEO Magda Wierzycka who, along with the Helen Suzman Foundation, filed the court application at the North Gauteng High Court on December 14 2017.

The application was filed as a result of the “inaction” by organs of state and relevant law enforcement agencies, such as the South African Police Service and the National Prosecuting Authority. They had failed to address state capture, the Helen Suzman Foundation previously said in its statement about the court application.

The affidavit unpacked how corruption took place at Eskom and how the Gupta family influenced key positions in state and at the power utility.

The aim of the case is to recover proceeds wrongfully earned by entities for the benefit of the fiscus, Fin24 previously reported. The monies are either to be paid back to Eskom or the state. 

Speaking to Fin24 by phone on Sunday, Wierzycka said that apart from recovering funds, corrupt decisions must also be overturned, such as the appointment of Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane.

There were 75 respondents to the case, including President Jacob Zuma, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba and Treasury. Wierzycka was informed by her lawyers at Webber Wentzel this week that Treasury and the minister would support the case.

“They will cooperate and make the necessary documents available to us.”

She said it was significant that the state indicated it would assist where it can.

Criminal cases often take a number of years, especially white-collar crimes, she explained. “The state has limited resources especially for a white-collar case,” she said. The burden of proof for a criminal case is higher than a civil case. 

Freezing assets in the time being is useful; however, recovering or repossessing them is another process. Wierzycka and the Helen Suzman Foundation are pursuing a civil case, to deal with the matter much faster. The case will likely require a full bench (three judges), and Wierzycka is hopeful that it will be finished by the end of the year. A court date may be set soon, she said.

“This is a significant case and could set a precedent for future cases,” she said. "It is one of the more effective cases, in terms of asset recovery.”

Wierzycka said the Guptas have received much more than is currently being reported, and once the application is supplemented, she would give an update on the figures as a matter of public interest.

Treasury is yet to respond to Fin24’s request for comment. 

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