KZN AFU head placed on precautionary suspension

Justice Minister Ronald Lamola did not publicly disclose the reasons why he placed Molelle on suspension, however, reports suggested that it's linked to state capture allegations.

Knorx Molelle. Picture: Bulelwa Makeke.

JOHANNESBURG - The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has placed KwaZulu-Natal Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) head, Knorx Molelle, on precautionary suspension.

Justice Minister Ronald Lamola suspended Molelle on full pay this week.

“The matter is being dealt with internally and the NPA will release further details at the appropriate time once the internal issues have been exhausted,” said NPA spokesperson Sipho Ngwema.

Molelle’s suspension on allegations that he irregularly and unnecessarily appointed and paid curators was causing divisions in the NPA, and some of his colleagues labelled the claims as absurd.

Some NPA officials said not only are curators appointed by the Master of the High Court, but neither Molelle nor anyone in the NPA has a say on their fees.

In a letter, Lamola said the allegations of irregularities related to the appointment of curators in the Mckinsey, Estina, and Intaka matters – and the minister said he viewed them in a serious light.

Mckinsey was paid R1 billion by Eskom in consulting fees, while Trillian was paid R600 million for securing the business, and when the NPA started investigating both companies indicated they would pay back the money voluntarily.

However, some NPA officials rubbished claims the curators were appointed after Mckinsey and Trillian had paid the money, instead they maintained the money would never be paid if the court had not intervened.

According to officials who agreed to speak to Eyewitness News, on condition of anonymity, the allegations came from a whistle-blower who was linked to a law firm that was advising Eskom at the time.

Sources claimed there was an attempt to block the AFU when it started investigating the matter in the hope that a settlement could be reached with Mckinsey and Trillian to recover the money.

But months went by and it was only when Molelle and his team argued successfully for a court order to attach their assets that the money was paid.

The spokesperson for the Department of Justice, Crispin Phiri, said Lamola approved the suspension because he was convinced that Molelle should step aside to allow investigations to be concluded.

Download the EWN app to your iOS or Android device.