DECLINE TO PROSECUTE: Mokgoro inquiry hears of unofficial Jiba decision

2019-01-24 16:16
Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba's legal team at the Mokgoro Inquiry. (File photo: Pelane Phakgadi, News24)

Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba's legal team at the Mokgoro Inquiry. (File photo: Pelane Phakgadi, News24)

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The Mokgoro inquiry has heard that the North West Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) declined to prosecute suspended deputy prosecutions boss Nomgcobo Jiba for fraud and perjury.

The claim was made by Jiba's attorney, Zola Majavu, on Thursday. However, he said he hadn't received formal confirmation.

The inquiry is looking into Jiba's fitness to hold office as well as that of special director of public prosecutions Lawrence Mrwebi.

OVERVIEW: #MokgoroInquiry - 'We had a very cordial relationship' - MacAdam on working with Jiba

Majavu told retired Constitutional Court Justice Yvonne Mokgoro, who is heading the inquiry, that he wrote a letter to acting National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Silas Ramaite after her ruling on Wednesday and asked him if a decision had been taken.

"I had not yet received a formal reply. I was told that the particular docket was sent to the DPP in the North West to consider and make a decision," he said. 

No formal reply

Majavu said he sent a letter to the North West DPP, advocate JJ Smit, SC, but he did not receive a reply. 

"To date, I am yet to receive a formal reply. What I did before we commenced this morning (Thursday), I phoned the DPP's office in the North West and in fairness to advocate Smit, I was informed he was currently on leave."

Later, he communicated with the acting DPP, advocate Gledstone Maema. Maema was the one who told him that a decision had been taken. 

"He (Maema) would locate the docket and attach a signed decision which would then be dispatched to me. He did also inform me that a decision he knows was taken, was one that they decline to prosecute. But it was not taken by him. It was taken by advocate JJ Smit," Majavu added.

He added that, according to the inquiry's evidence leader, Nazreen Bawa, SC, the acting NDPP informed her that no decision had been taken.

In a letter seen by News24, which was obtained in bundles supplied to reporters at the inquiry, advocate JJ Smith states that former NDPP Shaun Abrahams transferred the matter to him on August 7, 2018, telling him to "deal with as you deem fit".  

"I assume that he intended for me to study the case and consider whether to reinstate prosecution against advocate Jiba, considering the background of the matter.

'No prima facie case'

"I have indeed studied the docket and I have taken the following decision:  There is no prima facie case against advocate N Jiba on charges of fraud and perjury," he said. 

The decision was made in August last year.

On Wednesday, Mokgoro wanted to know if a decision has been made on whether Jiba should be prosecuted for fraud and perjury. 

"The parties should confirm whether or not a decision has been made and if so, furnish us... by today (Wednesday)," she said at the time.  Mokgoro made the request after Jiba's legal team raised concerns about a statement before the commission, by senior prosecutor Jan Ferreira, who was tasked with prosecuting Jiba on the charges. 

However, on Thursday morning, Mokgoro ruled that there was nothing that precluded Ferreira from testifying before the commission.  

In August 2015, Abrahams withdrew charges of perjury and fraud against Jiba.

The charges related to her decision to prosecute Johan Booysen, the former head of the Hawks in KwaZulu-Natal, for racketeering.

However, in 2017, the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria set aside the decision to withdraw the charges.

The National Prosecuting Authority withdrew its application for leave to appeal the high court ruling that set aside Abrahams' decision.

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Read more on:    npa  |  lawrence mrwebi  |  nomgcobo jiba  |  mokgoro inquiry  |  politics

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