A network of African countries, where information and knowledge is shared between law enforcement agencies, would help to solve financial crimes and open up economic opportunities for the continent, says Acting National Director of Prosecutions Mokotedi Mpshe.
He said African countries should see the criminal justice system as not only prosecuting criminals involved in crimes such as trafficking, but also ending illegal activities which hamper the economy.
"This will attract foreign investors while creating more jobs," said Mr Mpshe while addressing delegates at the Africa Conference on Economic Crime on Wednesday.
Mr Mpshe said economic crimes would be re-examined and the conference would come up with a clear mandate on how to tackle such crimes, something which will be of great benefit to South Africa.
"Although we have good units within the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), there is a need to always re-look at our strategies and point out the necessary issues which need to be re-enforced while evaluating the progress."
He urged countries, especially those in the South African Development Community (SADC) to fight narcotic trafficking and money laundering.
"I believe the deliberations will enable us to make good strides as these act are not just criminally perceived, but also pose business risk," said Mr Mpshe.
He said he had no doubts about the excellent work carried out by different units within his institution so far, adding that the NPA had a strategic role to play in driving back crime to acceptable levels.
"We have already developed a 2020 strategy, set standards in fighting economic crimes and the organisation has so in the right track," said Mr Mpshe.
The NPA's Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit (SCCU) which specifically deals with complex commercial crime cases, has so far dealt with 3 500 cases and has been doing excellent job, he said.
The Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) has between 2006 and 2007 continued its upward trend, tackling 252 cases and seized R1.25 billion.
The Directorate of Special Operations, responsible for individual prosecution of organised crime, has been concentrating more resources on combating economic crimes and targeting top-end perpetrators.
"Again the strategy we used worked well for the organisation with major levels of success."
Commenting on the application to stop legislation being passed that will see the NPA, or Scorpions, from being disbanded which was turned down in the Pretoria High Court on Wednesday morning, Mr Mpshe said government's intention was to come up with an elite unit with necessary capacity while strengthening ways of fighting organised crime.
I advocate for the merging of Scorpions and the police to be given a chance, he said, adding that we should wait and judge the results.
Judge Willie van der Merwe ruled that the court did not have the jurisdiction to grant such an order as it has not enough jurisdiction to interfere with the decision to incorporate the Scorpions with the police.
The General Law Amendment Bill and the National Prosecuting Amendment Bill are due to be tabled in Parliament.
The two bills are set to pave the way for the formation of a new unit incorporating parts of the Scorpions and the police's Organised Crime Unit.
President Thabo Mbeki appointed the Khampepe Commission of Inquiry in 2006, headed by Judge Sisi Khampepe, to review the mandate of the Directorate of Special Operations (known as the Scorpions) as well as its location.
The report was never intended to be released publicly and President Mbeki only took the decision to release it in February.
He said the decision was taken to release the report at the same time as the tabling of the two Bills to Parliament so that it could form part of what people based their decisions on.
The report reveals that the location of the DSO is not unconstitutional, but it however noted some concerns over the size and operating methods of the unit.
Mr Mpshe noted that there were some issues which seem to have caused tension within the members of the public regarding Scorpions and police.
"The public has the right and ought to know what is happening within the NPA, we are currently putting together a statement which will soon be sent to the public on the unit's programme of action," said Mr Mpshe. - BuaNews