Publication: News24 Issued: Date: 2003-09-08 Reporter: Donwald Pressly

Zuma Wants Scorpions Probed




Date 2003-09-08


Donwald Pressly

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Cape Town - Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula says South African Deputy President approached the police to investigate leaks from the Scorpions pertaining to the case of alleged corruption against him.

Nqakula told a media briefing at parliament on Monday - in response to a question whether the police had been asked to investigate leaks of questions to the deputy president to the media - that: "Yes, the deputy president did approach the police and said (it) should investigate leaks from the Scorpions."

Nqakula added that investigation was continuing and it would taken action once the probe has been completed.

Asked if there was any difficulty in the relationship between the Scorpions and the police, he said the relationship was defined in law. The police were the only institution which could make arrests in terms of the constitution, he noted.

Talking about the ongoing debate about relocating the Scorpions under the police rather than in the Justice Department, Nqakula pointed out that there had been discussion about this long before the matter of the deputy president had arisen.

He said the location of the Scorpions had been discussed at the September 2002 conference of the African National Congress.

"Unfortunately, the present problem that has arisen does not provide an atmosphere that is conducive to an intelligible discussion of the matter (of relocation)."

The National Directorate of Public Prosecutions - under which the Scorpions investigation unit falls - recently decided not to prosecute Zuma although its national director indicated that there was prima facie evidence of corruption relating to South Africa's controversial arms deal.

Questions put to the Deputy President relating to his alleged acceptance of a R500 000 bribe were leaked to the media in recent weeks.

The safety and security minister also expressed concern about politicians bringing into question the integrity of constitutionally entrenched bodies such as the Scorpions. Indicating that this was problematic in terms of undermining the rule of law, he said this "reduced the authority of that body".

The deputy president has stated that the leaking of the Scorpion's questions to him on the arms deal was "totally unacceptable and despicable".

With acknowledgements to Donwald Pressly and News24.