R50bn expected to be seized in 17 state capture cases - AFU

Johannesburg - The Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) is hoping to seize at least R50bn in 17 cases it is currently investigating related to state capture, acting head of operations advocate Knorx Molelle said on Tuesday. 

In an interview with eNCA, Molelle said his team had already prioritised six matters which were before the courts, awaiting preservation orders. 

"The matters are before the court and hopefully in the next couple of weeks we will have court orders," he said. 

The AFU has already taken action against two Gupta-linked companies - Trillian and McKinsey - hoping to recoup R1.6bn in assets related to consultancy work done by the companies for Eskom and Transnet.

Also read: McKinsey: We've been ready to pay back Eskom's money for two months

Through their engagements, Trillian had indicated a willingness to co-operate, Molelle said. 

"We are quite confident that, in the next day or two, we would have recovered the funds that have been taken away."

Assets would only be attached as a last resort, he said.

"If there is willingness with those that we are dealing with that they are prepared to make good, the actual physical removal will be a last resort. 

"An engagement that we having is absolutely critical. We are sitting and resting with the comfort that should that not bare any fruits, we also identified the relevant assets from which we can recover."

Mollelle said the matter should be finalised within the next two days. 

The AFU was investigating six other matters in which they were hoping to recoup money in the current financial year, he added.

'We are working at our utmost best'

The money would be deposited into the Criminal Asset Recovery account and reinvested into fighting crime or to the state, where needed.

Acting head of the Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit, advocate Malini Govender, could not clearly say when individuals would be prosecuted in cases related to state capture, only commenting that it was a complicated matter that needed time for thorough investigation. 

"We have only been dealing with this since March, so you cannot expect that in a month or two months we are going to take something to court. We are working at our utmost best and hardest in ensuring there is sufficient traction to get this matter to court," she said. 

Also read: The NPA goes after the Guptas, sets sights on assets worth about R1.6bn

The NPA - together with National Treasury, the Financial Intelligence Centre, the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission and the AFU - had an 18-man team dedicated to the "eight legged" state capture investigations, she added. 

Seven of the investigation's "legs" came from former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report into state capture, while the eighth stemmed from a separate complaint. 

Both officials denied any interference by the National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams. 

"At no stage did he give any instruction that we do not proceed. In fact, at some stage he was... anxious at what he perceived to be a slow pace," Molelle said.