NPA seniors after Nxasana

2014-06-03 00:00

THE same senior officials in the top structure of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) who tried to get rid of advocate Glynnis Breytenbach are now trying to remove Mxolisi Nxasana, the new NPA head.

Advocates Nomgcobo Jiba, Lawrence Mrwebi and Prince Mokotedi were also involved in the illegal arrest of advocate Gerrie Nel when he was prosecuting former police commissioner Jackie Selebi for corruption.

“While the faction fighting in the NPA’s highest echelons continues, the public is losing all confidence in the NPA’s independence. This has a destructive effect on prosecutors at ground level,” retired NPA head advocate Vusi Pikoli said yesterday.

Pikoli said it was clear politicians want a tame NPA head. “From experience I know if you are not willing to be manipulated and remain independent, they will get rid of you,” he said.

The Black Lawyers Association (BLA) also said in a statement the continued instability in the NPA is undermining SA’s democracy. “The orchestrated campaign to destabilise the NPA must stop immediately.”

Their statement came after Nxasana accused Jiba — one of his four deputies who previously acted in Nxasana’s post for months — of plotting with Mrwebi to convince President Jacob Zuma to fire Nxasana.

Nxasana had also halted a probe into his affairs by Mokotedi, who heads the NPA’s integrity management unit.

Amid all this Jeff Radebe, the former minister of justice, asked Nxasana to resign after he did not pass a security clearance check. He failed to declare that he was acquitted of murder in 1985.

Pikoli said the timing of the minister’s request was suspect.

Sister paper Beeld has learned the friction between Nxasana and Jiba dates back to Nxasana sidelining her shortly after his appointment. Jiba was seen as his right hand and responsible for the NPA’s strategy, operations and prosecutions, but Nxasana promoted advocate Nomvula Mokhatla to this portfolio.

He made Jiba responsible for the NPA’s legal services in Mokhatla’s stead.

Nxasana also accepted Breytenbach’s resignation despite Mokotedi’s recommendation that she must be charged in another disciplinary hearing.

Mrwebi and Jiba were shrouded in controversy over Mrwebi’s decisions to withdraw charges of fraud and corruption against Lieutenant-General Richard Mdluli of the police’s crime intelligence unit.

The appeal court later set aside Mrwebi’s decision and Jiba wanted to appeal the verdict to the Constitutional Court, but Nxasana refused.

Jiba was criticised in the verdict because she did nothing to intervene after Breytenbach had asked in her a 200-page

memorandum to revise Mrwebi’s decision.

In Pikoli’s book, My Second Initiation, he described Jiba, Mrwebi and Mokotedi’s appointments as “astonishing” precisely because they all gave evidence against the state for Selebi and had a hand in the illegal arrest of Nel.

The NPA did not react to queries.

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