Bar council wants Nomgcobo Jiba struck off lawyers’ roll

2015-04-06 10:00

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The General Council of the Bar of SA wants National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) deputy head Nomgcobo Jiba struck off the roll or suspended from working as an advocate.

The council, which represents advocates in South Africa, also wants NPA specialised commercial crimes unit head Lawrence Mrwebi and North Gauteng director of public prosecutions Sibongile Mzinyathi struck off the roll or suspended.

According to a notice of motion filed in the North Gauteng High Court this week, the three have until Tuesday to give reasons why they should be allowed to continue to work as advocates should they intend to oppose the application.

In his founding affidavit, bar council head Advocate Jeremy Muller said the conduct of the three in three cases had led to the application being brought.

The cases are:

.?Their failed attempt to prosecute KwaZulu-Natal Hawks head Johan Booysen;

.?President Jacob Zuma’s spy tapes saga; and

.?The decision to drop charges against suspended crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli.

In the Booysen matter, Jiba’s sworn affidavit was contradicted by the fact that she signed the authorisation two weeks prior to the statement on which she apparently based her approval.

Judge Trevor Gorven condemned the decision by Jiba, the acting national director of public prosecutions at the time, to prosecute Booysen, saying the charges did not meet even the barest of minimum requirements.

Muller said part of the code of conduct for prosecutors states they must be individuals of integrity whose conduct is objective, honest and sincere.

Jiba, Mzinyathi and Mrwebi are all accused of perjury for having lied under oath. The charges stem from the adverse findings made about the NPA’s leadership in the handling of a case against Mdluli.

The move followed a successful court challenge, brought by rights group Freedom Under Law, which compelled the NPA to review the decision to drop criminal charges against Mdluli.

The Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution last year also described the Supreme Court of Appeal ruling to release Zuma’s spy tapes as proof Jiba was unfit for office.

The Supreme Court slammed Jiba’s conduct, saying the way the NPA had conducted itself tainted the institution, and ordered it to hand over the recordings used as justification to withdraw criminal charges against Zuma to the DA.

In 2009, the NPA said the conversations contained in the recordings were proof of a conspiracy against the president, so it had to withdraw corruption charges he faced.

Attempts to reach Jiba and Mzinyathi were unsuccessful. But Mrwebi said: “I am really relieved, excited and looking forward to the moment.”

This week, the deputy director of public prosecutions and asset forfeiture unit head Willie Hofmeyr came out in support of the decision by then acting national director of public prosecutions, Mokotedi Mpshe, to drop corruption charges against Zuma.

Hofmeyr stated his investigations revealed that former Scorpions head Leonard McCarthy met regularly with then intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils “at critical points before and after the Polokwane elective conference”.

Jiba, Mrwebi and Mzinyathi are expected to appear in court soon in connection with the perjury charges in the Mdluli case.

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