Former ConCourt judge to investigate NPA

2014-08-03 15:00

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A “fact-finding commission of inquiry” headed by retired Constitutional Court Justice Zak Yacoob will be authorised to enter and search any National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) office and seize any documents it considers relevant.

These startlingly broad powers were bestowed on the commisssion by NPA CEO Karen van Rensburg and were made public in a press statement on Friday.

The investigation will focus on the leaking of information to the media and “allegations that certain members of the NPA were and are involved in other unethical and unprofessional conduct”.

The conduct of former NPA head Nomgcobo Jiba and special commercialised crimes unit head Lawrence Mrwebi will likely come under intense scrutiny in Yacoob’s investigation.

The authority said the allegations of impropriety in the media and “in some cases adverse findings of our courts in respect of certain senior members of the NPA” ran contrary to the values of the Constitution.

This can be understood as a reference to findings made about Jiba and Mrwebi in Freedom Under Law’s court challenge of the decision to drop corruption charges against suspended crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli.

A unanimous Supreme Court of Appeal judgment overturned the decision to drop charges against Mdluli and also found that:

» There were “serious problems” with Mrwebi’s explanation of why he instructed that charges against Mdluli be dropped;

» Mrwebi “contradicted” himself under oath and his explanation was “untenable and incredible”, and

» Jiba ignored the Mdluli debacle despite the “high-profile ­nature of the case and the public outcry that ­followed”.

The media leaks issue can also be seen as a reference to NPA integrity management unit head Prince Mokotedi’s suspension over a dossier of allegations against former prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach that he allegedly leaked to the media.

The establishment of the commission inquiry will likely be one of Mxolisi Nxasana’s last acts as prosecutions boss. President Jacob Zuma this week wrote to Nxasana, saying he intended to suspend him pending the outcome of a commission of inquiry into his fitness to hold office.

Three independent NPA and intelligence sources this week said an affidavit which placed Jiba at the head of a plot to oust Nxasana was not faked, as its author alleges.

Last month, City Press revealed the existence of the affidavit, deposed to by NPA official Terrence Joubert, which now forms part of a State Security Agency investigation into the NPA.

The affidavit states that Hawks Colonel Welcome “WS” Mhlongo was “sent by Jiba” to try to “find something” on Nxasana.

Joubert claims he did not write the affidavit, but a senior NPA official told City Press this week that NPA management had interviewed Joubert, who confirmed the alleged dirty tricks campaign.

Earlier this week Mokotedi threatened to resign and claimed there was a “Zuma camp” and a “[DA leader Helen] Zille camp” in the prosecuting authority.

He also said that prosecutor and former Gauteng Scorpions boss Gerrie Nel was “too powerful”, accused him of once being in the possession of rhino horn and said that all of the problems in the NPA related to disillusioned former members of the Scorpions.

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