Ruling expected in FUL interdict against Jiba, Mrwebi

2015-11-19 05:34
Nomgcobo Jiba (Picture: Supplied)

Nomgcobo Jiba (Picture: Supplied)

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Pretoria - The High Court in Pretoria will on Thursday deliver its ruling in the Freedom Under Law’s (FUL) application to have Specialised Prosecutions head Nomgcobo Jiba, and head of the Commercial Crime Court Lawrence Mrwebi barred from work.

The group was also calling for a review into their conduct.  FUL filed an interdict earlier this week.

In its founding affidavit FUL executive officer Nicole Fritz, names the respondents as

- Jiba;

- National Director of Public Prosecutions Sean Abrahams who announced withdrawing the fraud and perjury charges she faced;

- Regional head of the Specialised Commercial Crime Unit Marshall Mokgatle who made the decision to withdraw the charges with Abrahams;

- Justice Minister Michael Masutha because as a Cabinet member he had an oversight function over the authority;

- President Jacob Zuma because he had, on FUL's submission, failed to protect the integrity of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) by letting them stay in their jobs in spite of previous court rulings and reservations about their conduct;

- And Mrwebi, head of the Specialised Commercial Crime division of the NPA.

‘Protect the sanctity’

According to the FUL application, the only way to “protect the sanctity" of the prosecuting authority is that an interdict bar Jiba and Mrwebi from work, and that an inquiry into their fitness to hold office be held.

FUL argued that Jiba, Mrwebi and Zuma had failed in their constitutional duty to protect important crime fighting institutions and to uphold the rule of law. Fritz said that Jiba and Mrwebi make critical decisions on sensitive and high profile investigations, which may be difficult to reverse.

It believes the “intransigent and supine attitude” of Abrahams and Zuma jeopardises the functioning of the entire criminal justice system.

FUL also based its action partly on Jiba and Mrwebi for not charging former crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli with fraud and corruption.

It believes Mrwebi contradicted himself in evidence over a decision to not prosecute Mdluli when giving evidence to lawyers in the Mdluli matter, and when testifying at the disciplinary enquiry of former director of prosecutions Glynnis Breytenbach.

Jiba and Mrwebi also said that legal submissions in their affidavit in the Mdluli matter when it was before court, were based on the advice of their representatives, which FUL said was not the case.

They had also only provided a “sparse few documents” as record of proceedings leading to withdrawing charges against Mdluli, compared with three lever arch files of case dockets.

The two persisted though with a high court application opposing a review decision on Mdluli, and FUL believes this is “below the standard expected from a senior officer of the court”.

Jiba also allegedly ignored a request by Breytenbach to review the decision to drop charges against Mdluli.

FUL said she had also faced the fraud and perjury charges for allegedly making a sworn statement against senior KwaZulu-Natal police officer Major General Johan Booysen when she did not yet have the information to be used against him.

Charges withdrawn

FUL believes Zuma should have instituted a commission of inquiry into Jiba and Mrebi's conduct but failed to do so.

The charges against Jiba were withdrawn on August 19 and were one of the first announcements Abrahams made when he succeeded Mxolisi Nxasana. She was also promoted to head of National Specialised Prosecution Services.

Nxasana departed suddenly when an inquiry into his own fitness to hold office was called off at the last minutes. He received a R17m settlement when he left.

Breytenbach was put through a disciplinary inquiry and although she saved her job, she was posted to a different office, and decided to resign.

She is now an MP for the opposition DA.

Read more on:    ful  |  npa  |  nomgcobo jiba  |  jacob zuma  |  pretoria

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