Zuma's NPA choice dogged by controversy

2011-01-14 12:48
Cape Town - An advocate that President Jacob Zuma appointed as a deputy to NPA boss Menzi Simelane previously faced charges of dishonesty and unprofessional conduct, reports showed on Friday.

Advocate Nomgcoba Jiba also faced charges of bringing the National Prosecuting Authority into disrepute, the Mail and Guardian reported.

On Thursday, the NPA announced the appointments of Jiba and Nomvula Mokhatla as the new Deputy National Directors of Public Prosecutions. Their appointments were effective from 22 December 2010 and they began working this week, NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said.

"These are high performing advocates with across the board proficiency within the civil and criminal litigation industry.

"They are both skilled professionals, who are expected to successfully transform the prosecution with their legal expertise," Mhaga said.

But Jiba made headlines in 2007 when she got her NPA colleague Gerrie Nel arrested.

At the time, Nel was the head of the Scorpions crime-fighting unit which was disbanded by Zuma’s government. He also led the prosecuting team that got former police boss Jackie Selebi convicted of fraud.

Various departments involved

Mokotedi Mpshe, who was the acting national director at the time, suspended Jiba for her part in what Mpshe portrayed as a conspiracy to have Nel arrested before he could lay corruption charges against Selebi.

The Mail and Guardian reported how Mpshe wrote in a letter to Simelane, then the director general of the justice department: "According to information received by the NPA, it seems as if Advocate Jiba and other members of the [Scorpions] together with members of the Saps, the department of justice ... and the office of the presidency, and in spite of all indications that there [was] insufficient evidence and in a clandestine manner, did all in their power to obtain a warrant of arrest for Advocate Gerrie Nel."

The newspaper wrote that Jiba played an active role in getting Nel arrested over claims that he had interfered in the prosecution of a former Scorpion convicted of pursuing a cover-up during his investigation of corruption at the Mpumulanga Economic Empowerment Commission.

The charges against Nel were soon dropped but the M&G reports that the Simelane-run NPA has begun an investigation into Nel's conduct of the Selebi case and the Brett Kebble murder investigation.

When News24 asked Nel for comment on Jiba’s new appointment, he said: I don’t want to talk to the media at the moment.”

- News24
Read more on:    npa  |  jacob zuma  |  menzi simelane  |  gerrie nel  |  judiciary
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