01/02/2017 16:06 SAST | Updated 02/02/2017 11:04 SAST

Gerrie Nel: No, I Didn't Leave The NPA Because They Were Investigating Me

The former NPA prosecutor says he didn't even know about the complaint before resigning.

Advocate Gerrie Nel told 702 on Wednesday has denied that an investigation into him by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) pushed him to leave.

Nel sent shockwaves throughout the country on Tuesday when it emerged he had left his job as one of the NPA's top prosecutors on Monday and would be taking up a position as a private prosecutor with Afrikaans lobby group AfriForum.

"It was definitely not the reason that I left," he said. "I want to make it clear, I was not informed that there was an investigation against me before I tended my resignation."

News24 reported on Wednesday Nel allegedly faced an internal investigation, initiated days before he resigned.

But Nel refuted the allegation.

"When I tended my resignation, my direct head of office was very surprised," he said.

News24 reported NPA head Shaun Abrahams ordered an investigation into Nel and other senior prosecutors just three days before Nel resigned. The site reported that Nel was part of a complaint a Laudium businessman laid against him and the prosecutors in Pretoria. The complaint, which was registered on December 20 last year, relates to an allegation of tampering with evidence.

When Nel was asked by News24 if he was aware of the complaint against him and if this had anything to do with his resignation, he replied "not at all". He did not comment further.

Dispute with prominent family

However commented further in his interview for 702 saying he knew about the complaint to some extent, but maintained it was not the reason he left: "I knew that the accused in that matter made a representation to the NPA about the matter. The matter is ongoing, it's a part-heard matter, and he made a representation. That's as far as I know. the fact that there's an investigation is completely new to me but certainly I hope it's investigated. If you read [the representation] carefully, you'll see it's Nel and other prosecutors. Now I hope that the NPA will give you all the facts that they allege and that one can go back and see the matter is part-heard and the matter is in court and that the court should make a decision. So I'm not concerned."

Nel announced on Tuesday that he had resigned from the NPA on Monday, giving just 24 hours notice after 36 years of service, but would not talk about his reasons for leaving beyond saying that he'd been considering it for a while and was not angry with the NPA. He joined Afrikaner rights organisation AfriForum, starting from Wednesday to head up its new private prosecutions unit.