Who leaked ‘dumped’ files story?

2014-02-18 00:00

ALLEGATIONS that KwaZulu-Natal’s director of public prosecutions, Sophy Moipone Noko, was seen on CCTV “dumping” files linked to the failed prosecution of Durban socialite Shauwn Mpisane may be untrue.

Sources at the KZN DPP’s office in Pie­termaritzburg say if this is the case, it begs the questions who “leaked” the story to the press and who has it in for Noko. Noko herself put out a memo denying knowledge of the files in question and saying she was not in Pietermaritzburg on January 28 when, according to a recent Sunday newspaper report, the files were left in the judges’ parking lot at the high court. She did not say where she was, however.

Noko also said she had viewed CCTV footage and there was no footage of anyone dumping files.

This was apparently confirmed at a staff meeting attended by national DPP Mxolisi Nxasana and other high-ranking officials last week.

However, in a written reply to The Witness yesterday, national NPA spokesperson Nathi Mncube said the NDPP had not investigated the “discarding of files”.

“The NDPP has not received any formal complaint against advocate Noko pertaining to the dumping of files and therefore did not and will not investigate the matter based on media reports,” he said.

Mncube confirmed that Nxasana, his deputy, advocate Nomcobo Jiba, CEO Karen van Rensburg, deputy CEO Ambassador Sisulu and “other senior NPA officials” had visited the KZN NPA office in Pietermaritzburg.

He said the delegation was there to give feedback on the outcome of an investigation commissioned last year into allegations of racism and other matters “excluding financial management”.

“The enquiry found that the allegations could not be substantiated. However,­ some recommendations were made to assist the office to move forward in harmony. The NPA will be working together with the KZN office to implement the recommendations,” he said.

Mncube said the report (prepared by attorney Comfort Ngidi) will not be made public as it is an internal document dealing with complaints by staff against senior managers.

Informed sources told The Witness it has been determined that the “dumped” Mpisane files did not belong to any of the prosecutors involved in Mpisane’s criminal trials, but were the property of a judge’s registrar and related to a civil case in which Mpisane’s assets were frozen at the request of the Asset Forfeiture Unit.

The files were placed, among several other files, in a sealed basement adjoining the judges’ underground car park in the Pietermaritzburg high court building.

Hundreds of files routinely line the corridors in the building and are also stacked in the foyer in front of the lifts due to a lack of storage space.

Noko has come under fire from several quarters since her controversial appointment in July 2012.

She replaced Simphiwe Mlotshwa, who allegedly refused to back down over the corruption prosecution of high profile politicians Mike Mabuyakhulu and Peggy Nkonyeni in the so-called “amigos” trial that is still pending.

Charges against Mabuyakhulu and Nkonyeni were subsequently dropped by Noko, a decision she insists she took because of “insufficient evidence” against them.

In August last year, a section of her staff rebelled against her and filed a list of grievances with the NPA hierarchy and Justice Minister Jeff Radebe.

A letter signed by 32 staff questioned Noko’s financial management skills and ability to resolve “rifts” between staff and management arising from allegations of racism and favouritism.

The complaints resulted in an internal inquiry being launched, chaired by Ngidi.

Staff confirmed they were informed last week that the report concluded there was no merit in any of the complaints, nor evidence found of racism. However, they have not been given access to the report.

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