McBride's letter to Batohi on high-profile cases 'receiving attention', says NPA

Shaun Abrahams denies claims made against him, says he acted without "fear, favour or prejudice"

McBride's letter to Batohi on high-profile cases 'receiving attention', says NPA

A letter written by former executive director of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) Robert McBride asking National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) boss Shamila Batohi to fast-track high-profile cases is "receiving attention", the NPA says.

"I can confirm that the [National Director of Public Prosecutions] has received Mr McBride's letter and all the matters raised in it are receiving attention," spokesperson Bulelwa Makeke told News24 on Monday.

She said the NPA was planning a media engagement "in the near future" which would deal with the NPA's way forward on all the partnerships and engagements that Batohi would be leading.

News24 earlier reported that McBride had written to Batohi, urging her to fast-track high-profile cases.

In the letter, which News24 has seen, McBride notes that he repeatedly appealed to former prosecutions boss Shaun Abrahams over two years to intervene in IPID cases that were not being prosecuted.

He also wonders if Abrahams was "biased in dealing with IPID cases".

McBride, whose contract as IPID boss expired on February 28, alleges that NPA officials were complicit in interference in IPID cases.

News24 has seen correspondence between McBride, Abrahams and various IPID officials dating back to May 2017. The correspondence is attached to the letter McBride wrote to Batohi. It is dated February 4, 2019.

In the revealing correspondence, totaling 101 pages including attachments, McBride appeals to Batohi to intervene in high-profile IPID cases and details how he repeatedly requested Abrahams to intervene when decisions were taken not to prosecute IPID cases.

McBride included responses from Abrahams which reveal that the former NPA boss had looked at various issues raised by him but found them unsubstantial.

But Abrahams disputed McBride's claims, saying all the decisions that he made as NPA boss were made without "fear, favour or prejudice and were not remotely informed by any improper motives or influences".

"I dispute McBride's allegations as baseless and unsupported by any evidence. IPID matters are ordinarily dealt with within the area of jurisdiction of respective DPP (director of public prosecutions) offices and or at specialist NPA business units," Abrahams told News24. He counted among these the priority crimes litigation unit, which he said was dealing with the Marikana matter, the specialised commercial crime unit, which is dealing with matters relating to former acting national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane, and the DPP office in Pretoria which is dealing "with a matter in which McBride and others are implicated".

Meanwhile, in a statement issued on Monday, IPID said it would uphold its commitment to investigating without "fear, favour or prejudice"."The IPID plays an important role in the fight against corruption and other offences – this role will not be diminished by the departure of the of the former [executive director]," said newly appointed acting executive director Victor Senna."I have confidence in the IPID team to live up to the high standard expected of us," Senna said.