Abrahams explains delay in Estina dairy farm probe

NPA head Shaun Abrahams and the acting head of the Hawks are briefing parliamentarians on the status of probes into state capture.

A screengrab of NPA head Shaun Abrahams and acting Hawks head Yolisa Matakata briefing MPs on the status of investigations into state capture, on 7 March 2018.

CAPE TOWN – National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Shaun Abrahams on Wednesday told members of Parliament the probe into the Estina dairy farm scandal was held up by certain outstanding matters.

He and the acting head of the Hawks are briefing parliamentarians on the status of probes into state capture.

Abrahams highlighted some of the outstanding issues that prosecutors and investigators need to iron out to move ahead with the probe.

“On 25 October, the prosecuting team was provided with a copy of the docket. At that stage, the statements and evidence in the dockets had progressed to A35. The prosecuting team noted that a scanned copy of the docket was incomplete.”

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Last week, acting Hawks head Yolisa Matakata told parliament’s police committee that the NPA hindered the case coming to court as it received the docket in November but only gave the go ahead for arrests in January.

Abrahams was summoned to today’s joint meeting of Parliament’s justice and police committees to explain.

Abrahams has hit back at claims by the Hawks that the NPA sat on the docket for the Estina dairy farm case for months.

He disputes there was any undue delay in giving the go-ahead for arrests.

He also says Matakata never complained about this to him, although Matakata last week said she’d raised her concerns with both Abrahams and former police minister Fikile Mbalula.

Abrahams claims Matakata was misinformed.

“This misinformation has incorrectly given the perception that the NPA and the DPCI and the prosecuting team and the investigating team, and General Matakata and I are at loggerheads.”

He added: "After General Matakata's appearance before the portfolio committee on police last week, I requested a comprehensive report from advocate Govendar in the Estina matter and on the remarks made by General Matakata. On Monday, 5 February I was provided with a report on the factual account on the NPA's engagement with the DPCI... now General Matakata and I have always enjoyed a professional working relationship.

"It's regrettable that General Matakata made the utterances to the portfolio committee on police in as far as it relates to the NPA, because I believe and have been advised that she had been incorrectly informed."

Abrahams also claims the docket the NPA received in November from the Hawks was not "fully" investigated and needed more work.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)