By Pinky Khoabane
ALLEGATIONS that Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng refused to give permission for access to evidence under the authority of the office of the chief justice regarding allegations of trial fixing could force him to recuse himself from the UDM’s Constitutional Court application in which it asks that the motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma be held in secret.
Legal reform campaigner Justin Lewis is requesting that Mogoeng Mogoeng makes available the alleged evidence sought to ascertain corruption between the banks and courts. He says the alleged evidence is required for an investigation which Hawks Judge Essa Moosa had initiated stemming from the corruption complaint lodged by the President’s son, Edward, against billionaire businessman Johann Rupert. Judge Moosa died two months ago.
Lewis is the founder of CASISA, a human rights watchdog group whose objective is to stop the corruption of the courts and to protect the independence of the judiciary.
In correspondence to several people including the Chief Justice himself, Chief Registrar Kgwadi Makgakga, Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete, ANC Deputy Secretary Jesse Duarte, newly appointed Police Minister Fikile Mbalula, and attorneys of the UDM, Lewis has warned of a potential conflict of interest if the Chief Justice were to participate in the UDM’s case or make a ruling in any matter that affects Zuma, whilst his son’s investigation with the office of the Hawks judge is not completed given the inclusion of the Chief Justice office as an affected party. Lewis made a similar submission in the DA’s spy tapes case.
Lewis’s interest in allegations of court capture as he puts it, dates back fourteen years when he was involved in a property development project which eventually saw thirty-six clients liquidated. He was then requested by Lloyds of London to investigate potential corruption between banks and the courts in the contrived liquidation of these companies. Lewis’s Lloyds investigation is now complete and goes to the UK prudential authorities at the end of May after communications with the head of Lloyds of London. He says allegations of collusion between banks and courts are rife and stories of forged signatures of court registrars, forged high court orders, and judgements pre-written for judges, abound.
“I was asked to observe in 2013 what is referred to in Parliament as the ‘UK widow’s case’ namely the alleged fraudulent liquidation of her South African asset( a farm in Franschoek) to enable the sale to neighbour Rupert,” he explained.
The case remains one of the most bizarre legal cases in South Africa. Durban-based businessman Ian Brakspear had his family business liquidated in 2009 for a R7 million bank loan he says he never asked for or received. He also claimed the liquidation order was forged. But not only that, the Hawks and a top-flight forensic investigator agreed with him. Read the story of what can either be a delusional man as Nedbank’s counsel claimed at the time or a case that opened-wide the rot in South Africa’s judicial system.http://uncensoredopinion.co.za/i-was-liquidated-over-a-fictitious-r7-million-loan-says-durban-businessman/
“The asset was meant to be protected by Nedbank acting as trustees of her late husband’s estate which is effectively her pension. The alleged corruption of the courts led to a trial in the KZN High Court in 2014 which the widow’s son representing her interests lost,” the courts crusader added.
The widow lost the case allegedly as a result of “trial fixing” whereby any evidence of the alleged unlawful liquidation was witheld from the courts with the alleged assistance of the judiciary. The correct evidence is now receiving the attention of the Royal court of Jersey which he said was a sad indictment for foreign investors “when they have to seek recourse to justice in foreign courts, with profound implications for future growth of the SA economy’.
It is a lot of allegations hence the importance of the alleged evidence which the Chief Justice is allegedly withholding access to.
Lewis says witnesses approached him with claims of the alleged unlawful liquidation and these he passed on to the Chief Justice. He was further informed that there existed evidence to back the claims “subject to permission being granted to confidential evidence in the domain of the judiciary. This was refused”.
In 2016, Judge Moosa approved an investigation which raised concerns as submitted to parliament’s finance committee, in the following areas:
i) The allegations of alleged extortion against the wheel chair bound widow by her SA bank trustees in charge of protecting her SA assets left to her by her late husband
ii) The Alleged bribery of court officials and others
iii) The refusal of permission for access to evidence from the office of the chief justice regarding allegations of trial fixing, and the alleged protection of the banks by the same for refusing this access.
Lewis says the refusal by Mogoeng Mogoeng to allow access to the evidence needed to deal with the trial fixing investigation initiated by the President’s son, potentially compromises the Chief Justice’s position to rule in any matter affecting the President.
His submission to the registrar is that the UDM case may only be heard once a new Hawks judge is appointed and the evidence sought to ascertain alleged corruption or not between the banks and courts is handed to that office.
Lewis is also seeking assistance from the various bodies to which he sent the correspondence to fast-track the appointment of the new Hawks judge. He says the work of the late Judge Moosa was at such an advanced stage that it would take a couple of weeks to conclude and it could then be determined if South African courts are free of corruption in the execution of their work. He says it would prove fatal for a constitutional democracy if the judiciary were to be found to be partial and influenced by any external forces including the banks.
He cites the cases of the Brakspear liquidation and the Soweto widow’s case whose R350 000 was sold for R100 as examples of cases which raise concern regarding the independence of the courts.
In his submission to the Parliament’s hearings into the constitutionality of the warrantless searches in the FICA Bill recently, Lewis said the Brakspear case study “shared certain anomalies to the Lloyds investigation in that the same modus operandi were used by similar parties, which included the alleged contrived liquidation of assets by parties that were allegedly not creditors of the liquidated companies. What was unusual in this investigation was the alleged facilitation of this conduct by the Judiciary.”