12/07/2017 13:59 SAST | Updated 12/07/2017 14:41 SAST

NPA Denies Shaun Abrahams Is 'Protecting The Corrupt And Connected'

Shaun Abrahams would "not be afraid" to prosecute President Zuma.

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has rejected claims by DA leader Mmusi Maimane that National Director Shaun Abrahams is biased and guilty of selective prosecution.

Maimane on Tuesday called for Abrahams to be axed, saying he is "hell-bent on protecting the corrupt and the connected". In a letter to President Jacob Zuma, Maimane called for the immediate suspension of Abrahams pending an enquiry into his fitness to hold office.

In a press release, Maimane said Abrahams had overseen the "complete politicisation" of the NPA.

He accused Abrahams of entrenching a culture of selective prosecution, refraining from investigating individuals allegedly involved in state capture and the looting of state coffers.

Read: DA Launches Probe After NPA Says It Will Not Criminally Prosecute Nkandla Officials

Abrahams had also failed to react to eight charges of corruption against Zuma for "his role in using the people's money to build his Nkandla mansion" laid by Maimane in March 2014. The opposition leader said Abrahams had until now avoided making a "simple decision" on whether to prosecute Zuma based on a case docket handed to Abrahams' office on August 21, 2015.

Requests by the leader of the opposition to meet with Abrahams were also flatly ignored, Maimane said.

Maimane 'highly mischievous'

NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku, in a press statement released later on Tuesday, said Maimane's accusation of Abrahams' inaction in relation to the Nkandla matter is "highly mischievous". Mfaku said Abrahams referred all matters relating to the Nkandla investigation to Advocate Malini Governder, the acting head of the Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit (SCCU).

Mfaku said Maimane had been sent updates "at every point when he has written to the NPA" for information.

It was also "highly disingenuous" for Maimane to claim the NPA had not taken action in respect of the Spy Tapes revelations while "fully aware that the matter is pending in the Supreme Court of Appeal," Mfaku said.

According to Mfaku, Advocate Govender had notified the DA through its legal representative on 3 July that the Hawks had been requested to conduct further investigations. The DA's legal representatives were "further advised that a decision will be made once the additional information requested has been provided", he said.

The DA was also wrong to claim the investigation was finalised in 2015 as it is "only the NPA that can pronounce on issues relating to the sufficiency of any evidence contained in a docket", Mfaku said.

"Contrary to the peddled narrative, the NPA achieved a remarkable overall 93.8 percent conviction rate in the past two years under the stewardship of Advocate Abrahams," he said.

'Abrahams silent over Gupta-leak allegations'

In its statement, however, the NPA did not respond specifically to Maimane's claims that Abrahams had ignored a spate of criminal charges laid by the opposition leader earlier this year relating to individuals implicated in corruption, mostly relating to leaked Gupta emails. These included, Atul, Ajay and Rajesh Gupta, as well as Ashu Chawla, Nazeem Howa, Mosebenzi Zwane, Malusi Gigaba, Faith Muthambi, Des van Rooyen, Duduzane Zuma and Matshela Koko.

According to an EWN report on Wednesday, however, the NPA said it has not been silent over allegations against high profile politicians named in the Gupta-leak emails.

Mfaku told 702's Stephen Grootes that those calling for the NPA to begin prosecution against those named have "forgotten the ANC decided to remove its prosecution-led investigative capacity at Polokwane".

"People must remember the Polokwane resolution; where the NPA was told that it cannot be the referee and the player. The Directorate of Special Operations [DSO] was disbanded and our powers to conduct investigations were removed."

Mfaku said Abrahams wouldn't be afraid to prosecute Zuma because his tenure is protected by the NPA Act.