Senior advocate Guido Penzhorn revealed this morning that President Jacob Zuma offered him the position as head of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) in February.
Delivering the keynote address at the annual conference of the Institute of Commercial Forensic Practitioners, Penzhorn said he accepted the position when it was offered to him by Zuma.
But he has since heard nothing from Zuma or the justice department and suggested the president was going to appoint someone else to head the SIU.
“The fact that the president invited me to head the SIU speaks volumes to his commitment in fighting corruption in state institutions,” Penzhorn said.
He accepted the position because he wanted to give something back to his profession.
“Since then, I have heard nothing from the justice department, who administers the appointment, and simply carried on with my practice. Whoever the president appoints, I wish him or her all the best in moulding the SIU into a tool to fight corruption.”
Penzhorn practices as an advocate in Durban and prosecuted millions of dollars worth of bribes paid to companies constructing the Katze Dam in Lesotho on behalf of that country’s government.
The SIU has been without a permanent head since December 2011, when former judge Willem Heath stepped down after just 17 days in the job. Zuma appointed Heath after he fired Willie Hofmeyr, who was also heading the Asset Forfeiture Unit.
Advocate Nomvula Mokhatla has been acting as SIU head for the past 19 months.
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