Tuesday, April 7, 2020

DIS accused of fiddling with land

The Attorney General has been ordered to give reasons why the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) should not produce confidential documents in its possession relating to their investigations of improper land deals by the Kweneng Land Board.

DIS is accused of colluding with defendants in a land dispute in which it is said to be colluding with the defendants to hold on to documents central to the case and believed to have been falsified.

High Court judge, Key Dingake, recently ordered the Attorney General to show sufficient cause “why the DIS should not produce the documents in its possession”.

This was after Faheem Investments (PTY) Ltd filed an application that defendants, Mohammed Aqbal Chand, Waheeda Chand and Biznocrafts (Pty) Ltd should make originals of the documents which are central to the case.
The application was filed because Fahen Investments fears that “the documents sought may have been falsified or otherwise tempered with”.

The case is expected to open a legal debate on one of the central provisions of the DIS Act. In refusing to furnish the plaintiff with the required documents, Kgosi wrote to Faheen Investment’s lawyers saying that provisions of the Intelligence Security Service Act, 2007, Section 20 (2) provides that “no officer or support staff shall be required to produce before any public body other than a parliamentary committee established under the standing orders of the National Assembly, any document or other evidence where (a) it is certified by the Director General (b) that the document or other evidence belongs to a class of documents or evidence, the production of which is injurious to the public interest, or that disclosure of the evidence or of the contents of the documents will be injurious to the public interest…”
Kgosi stated that the documents being demanded had been certified by the Director General of DIS to be of a class referred to under that law.

The defendants allege that the documents were seized by DIS at the insistence and request of Faheen Investments, who are the plaintiffs. Faheen Investments denies the charge and argues that there is collusion between the defendants and DIS.

Head of DIS, Isaac Kgosi, says he seized the documents but denied that he “colluded with the defendants to cling on to possession of the documents in order to deprive the plaintiff access to them”.

In a written affidavit, Kgosi said earlier this year he was investigating “a matter involving improper land deals by the Kweneng Land Board”.

He says during the investigations he seized documents “which supported the investigated suspicions”.

He says: “The documents seized are in the possession of the Directorate for the purpose of furthering investigations.”

RELATED STORIES