Image: Judge Raymond Zondo. (Photo: Netwerk24)
It appears that the prevailing view is “No”. There are various reasons for that view, inter alia, that the National Prosecuting Authority (“the NPA”) simply does not have the expertise or the capacity to deal with those matters at present.
We believe that the solution could be simple. The government should do the following:
- Identify the top 100 cases;
- Approach the large and medium-sized law firms to assist in the preparation and conducting of one matter each on a pro-amico basis;
- Allocate a Prosecutor from the NPA to such law firm. Special Prosecutors could also be appointed;
- Approach the large and medium-sized accounting and auditing firms to assist with the preparation and conducting of one matter each on a pro-amico basis;
- Allow the Prosecutor to work from the relevant attorney’s office so that he or she will have access to the proper secretarial, messenger and other services, as well as a proper and convenient meeting place for meetings with the auditors, who shall provide input of an auditing nature, as well as acting as forensic auditors;
- It is our view that, if properly organised in the above-mentioned fashion, the top 100 cases could be completed within the next year;
- Create a special Corruption Court (which can be done very quickly if regard is had to the precedent set by the World Cup Courts which were established for the FIFA World Cup in 2010) and allocate one matter per Judge around the country on the basis that that Judge will deal only with that one matter arising from the Corruption Court and that he will give that matter priority;
- Ensure that the Judges, attorneys and accountants work very quickly to bring the matters to trial.
It is our view that if the Corruption Court can achieve substantial success with many convictions on the aforesaid basis, that many other people who have been corrupt will come forward to offer up information about their wrongdoings and offer re-payment of their ill-gotten gains.
The sheer scale of the wrongdoing uncovered by the Zondo Commission thus far suggests that special measures such as this will need to be taken to ensure that those responsible for state capture and other related criminal conduct are swiftly and effectively prosecuted.
The question, however, is whether the appetite for such an endeavour exists. Measures such as this will constitute a true ‘team effort’ and contribute toward a much-needed ethical paradigm shift in our society.