News and Information

Mbeki to probe elite crime unit
February 14, 2005

The ANC has previously clashed with the Scorpions

South Africa's top anti-corruption investigators are to be investigated, President Thabo Mbeki has said.

He said a commissioner would soon be appointed to look into the future of the Scorpions and the possibility of moving them to the police service.

The Scorpions, modelled on the FBI, have been accused of pursuing political vendettas by senior officials in the ruling ANC.

One said they had tried to make MPs look like "cowboys and crooks".

The Scorpions have been investigating a $2m scam, in which MPs allegedly made false expense claims for several months.

The ANC previously clashed with the Scorpions - a division of the National Prosecuting Authority - over corruption allegations made against Deputy President Jacob Zuma.

'Smear campaign'

The opposition Democratic Alliance said it would be "inappropriate to move the Scorpions" at the moment, following the recent controversies.

The commissioner would be appointed soon by the justice minister, Mr Mbeki's spokesman said.

ANC chief whip Mbulelo Goniwe earlier this month said he would summon the Scorpions to parliament after he said they were trying to smear MPs.

The Scorpions have said that 40 current and former MPs would be charged but none has yet appeared in court.


Mr Goniwe said that Scorpions' press statements came out at the same time as state occasions, such as President Thabo Mbeki's State of the Nation address.

"I don't think it is a coincidence. I think it's a planned, desperate kind of act of vengeance to really undermine parliament and create this impression that members of parliament are by definition cowboys and crooks," he said.

The accusations were dismissed by the Scorpions.

Charges have been expected since last August, when a report from an accountancy firm was handed to parliament.

Last year, Scorpions director Bulelani Ngcuka resigned after being caught up in a row over allegations against Mr Zuma.

Mr Ngcuka was criticised for saying he had some evidence against Mr Zuma but not enough to prosecute.

He was then accused of being an apartheid spy - which he denied.


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