Jiba wanted Nel ‘by hook or by crook’

2012-08-04 16:36

NPA alleged that Jiba blamed Nel for the prosecution and incarceration of her husband

Acting prosecutions boss Nomgcobo Jiba was the “main player” in obtaining an arrest warrant for top prosecutor Gerrie Nel “by hook or by crook”.

City Press has obtained an initial investigative report into Jiba’s conduct compiled by state advocate Sipho Mlombo on behalf of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

Jiba had been suspended by the NPA for her role in Nel’s controversial arrest in January 2008.

At the time, Nel was the chief prosecutor of disgraced police chief Jackie Selebi and his arrest was directly linked to a campaign by the police to discredit Nel and the Scorpions.

Prosecutors found there was insufficient evidence to charge him and Nel is currently claiming R300 000 in damages from the state.

Subsequent to her suspension, Jiba brought a labour court application against the NPA in which she claimed she was innocently involved in the Nel matter and not the main driver of it.

But the Mlombo report, based on the submissions of four senior NPA prosecutors, seriously undermines Jiba’s version and raises questions about the veracity of her sworn evidence.

The report notes that Jiba “actively participated in a bid to secure a warrant of arrest for Advocate Nel”.

In her 2009 affidavit, Jiba said the notion that she was “motivated by vengeance in assisting the police” in the investigation was false.

At the time of her suspension, the NPA alleged that Jiba blamed Nel for the prosecution and incarceration of her husband, former Scorpions member Booker Nhantsi.

Nhantsi, who worked as an attorney before being appointed a deputy director in the Eastern Cape Scorpions, was convicted of theft in the Mthatha High Court in 2005.

He stole trust funds totalling R193 000.

City Press reported in June that Jiba was supported by controversial police boss Richard Mdluli in her labour court application.

Mdluli was in charge of the Nel investigation and stated under oath it was “completely false” that Jiba tried to secure a warrant of arrest for Nel.

This stands in stark contrast to Mlombo’s report.

Mlombo said he was told by Advocate Anthony Mosing, a deputy director of public prosecutions in Pretoria, that he had received a visit from two police officers who showed him a judgment and a statement in a separate court case involving Nel.

Mosing said the two police officials “told him that they received the information from two sources who are working for the (Scorpions).

They further informed him that “these two advocates (sources) are on their way to join them in the meeting”.

Mosing “noticed it was Adv Nomgcobo Jiba ... who was standing at this office door”. At the time, Jiba was a senior advocate in the Scorpions.

Mlombo goes on to say that Jiba and a colleague also visited senior Pretoria prosecutors Solomzi Mveke, Rueben Ligaraba and Matric Luphondo, chief prosecutor at the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court.

Mveke told Mlombo that “Advocate Jiba was the one who actively participated as she was doing all the talking”.

All the prosecutors declined to assist in the Nel investigation, saying that NPA protocols were not being followed.

Jiba eventually settled her case with the NPA and returned to the organisation at the end of 2009.

In January 2010 President Jacob Zuma appointed her as deputy national director of public prosecutions and in 2011 as acting NPA head.

The criminal record of Nhantsi, Jiba’s husband, was expunged by Zuma in September 2010.

NPA spokesperson Bulelwa Makeke said she could not be expected to comment “on the legal defence strategies (Jiba) used” at a time when the NPA was acting against her. She sent the questions to Jiba, who didn’t respond.

» On Wednesday, Eyewitness News reported that Jiba threatened to withdraw the NPA from the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP) after it awarded Nel for his courageous work in the Selebi matter.

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