Top prosecutor got job despite facing a probe

2013-10-06 14:00

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Top Zuma appointee in KZN tries to squash internal investigation.

KwaZulu-Natal’s top prosecutor, Moipone Noko, was appointed to her post by President Jacob Zuma despite being under investigation for maladministration, favouritism and abuse of her office.

Shortly before her appointment on August 31, Noko withdrew charges of intimidation and harassment against Zuma’s fifth wife, Tobeka Madiba.

It has emerged that Noko tried to stop National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) staff from giving evidence to investigators.

Following initial visits by investigators, on September 18 Noko tried to close down the probe by instructing some of the advocates on her staff – all of them white – not to cooperate, and to instruct juniors to do the same.

In an email City Press has seen, she wrote: “I have discussed with the acting national director of public prosecutions, Advocate (Nomgcobo) Jiba, the investigations being conducted in the office in which we, as managers, have been invited to interviews by the investigators. I have highlighted our concerns and she agrees there are internal NPA measures and policies in place to address issues. Therefore there are no investigations to be conducted.”

Noko, a previous head of the NPA’s tax section in KwaZulu-Natal, was appointed by Zuma on Justice Minister Jeff Radebe’s recommendation after she’d acted in the position for almost a year.

Within days of being appointed acting director of public prosecutions in KwaZulu-Natal last September, Noko famously withdrew corruption charges against two ANC provincial leaders, Economic Development MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu and Speaker Peggy Nkonyeni.

They had been implicated in the Amigos corruption case.

On June 7 a “contact committee” of staff at NPA Pietermaritzburg headquarters wrote to the authority’s chief executive, Advocate Karen van Rensburg.

In their letter, which City Press has seen, they asked for issues around Noko’s conduct and the running of the NPA in the province to be investigated after an unsuccessful attempt to deal with these at a meeting lasting six and a half hours on May 31.

Staff said in the letter they

called the meeting to discuss the allegedly unequal application of

the merit system, the alleged victimisation of staff seen to be close to Mlotshwa and Noko’s alleged racism and abuse of power.

There was no resolution at that meeting and the committee wrote to Van Rensburg seeking national intervention. On August 2, NPA bosses Beryl Sisulu and Advocate Thoko Majokweni met staff in Pietermaritzburg. On August 16, the NPA’s corporate-services division appointed Durban attorney Comfort Ngidi to investigate claims of Noko’s “racism, irregularities, victimisation and abuse of power”.

Ngidi’s brief, outlined in documents seen by City Press, mandates him to investigate the claims and establish if they “have merit or not”.

It allows him to enter NPA premises, interview staff and inspect or seize any documents or records he might require.

Radebe’s spokesperson Mthunzi Mahaga denied that Radebe had been made aware of any investigation against Noko.

Noko, who is away on leave, declined to respond to questions.

NPA spokesperson Bulelwa Makeke said the investigation was to investigate general complaints, which had “remained unresolved” since 2005 and were “by no means against Advocate Noko personally.”

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