President Jacob Zuma has expunged the criminal record of the husband of the acting prosecutions boss, Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba.
Zuma’s spokesperson Mac Maharaj confirmed to City Press that former lawyer and Scorpions member Booker Nhantsi’s criminal record for stealing a client’s money from his trust fund was erased in September 2010.
Jiba was appointed deputy national director of public prosecutions in January 2011 and acting head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) at the end of last year, after the Supreme Court of Appeal found Zuma’s appointment of Advocate Menzi Simelane was irregular.
She also acted as head of the Special Investigating Unit in December for a few days after the resignation of Advocate Willem Heath.
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.
A police press statement published after his conviction stated that he dipped into funds totalling R193 000 held in a trust for a client in 2003.
He was sentenced to five years imprisonment, two years of which were suspended for a period of five years.
According to Maharaj, Zuma has the power to grant presidential pardons.
“A pardon is an act of mercy by the president if the president is convinced that it is in the public interest for a pardon to be granted.
“In Nhantsi’s case, he was convicted of the offence of theft, which was his first and only offence. He had also served his sentence.
“Nhantsi is also a qualified and skilled individual who can make a contribution to society. He was therefore pardoned accordingly.”
Jiba is closely associated with Lieutenant-General Richard Mdluli, the controversial head of the police crime intelligence unit.
Mdluli assisted her when she was suspended from the NPA in 2007 for allegedly assisting the police to counter the Scorpions’ investigation of former police chief Jackie Selebi.
In a Labour Court matter against the NPA, Mdluli made an affidavit in Jiba’s favour that supported the notion of a conspiracy against Selebi.
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