'He cannot claim he did not know'– Jiba stands by decision to prosecute Booysen

2019-02-25 15:28
Suspended deputy NPA boss Nomgcobo Jiba testifying before the Mokgoro inquiry. (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

Suspended deputy NPA boss Nomgcobo Jiba testifying before the Mokgoro inquiry. (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

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Suspended deputy National Director for Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Nomgcobo Jiba has denied any wrongdoing in authorising racketeering charges against former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Johan Booysen.

Under cross-examination, Jiba told the Mokgoro inquiry on Monday that she went ahead with the charges based on evidence placed before her.

The inquiry, headed by retired Justice Yvonne Mokgoro, has been tasked with establishing whether Jiba and special director of public prosecutions Lawrence Mrwebi are fit for office.

"From my oath of office, I would never take a decision to prosecute anyone other than from evidence before me," Jiba submitted to the Mokgoro inquiry.

Speaking about allegations that Booysen knew of the so-called Cato Manor "death squad", Jiba said, "he cannot claim that he did not know".

Earlier this month, Booysen filed an affidavit to have the charges – relating to allegations that he headed up a "death squad" linked to 116 crimes including murder – dropped.

Evidence leader Nazreen Bawa put it to Jiba that a narrative had developed around the Booysen matter.

READ: Former police minister Mthethwa was part of Cato Manor arrests plot -Booysen

"Charges were brought against Booysen in order to remove him from criminal investigations," Bawa said.

Jiba did not hesitate to respond, describing the narrative as "extremely false".

Jiba said that the evidence presented to her showed a pattern in the way Booysen's unit was enforcing the law.

"It's not what is expected of the police," she said. 

During the first session before lunch, Jiba attempted to put into perspective why she continued with the charges against Booysen. She stood firm, saying it was not correct to insinuate charges were brought against Booysen to remove him from his position.

Jiba also confirmed that it was her decision to send prosecutors to KwaZulu-Natal to handle the Cato Manor case.

On Thursday, Jiba denied receiving any funds from controversial facilities management company Bosasa, which she is accused of having aided to avoid prosecution. She also submitted that she was shocked to hear her colleagues say she was not qualified to lead the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

READ: 'I have never received any money from anyone from Bosasa' - Jiba

Under cross-examination on Monday, advocate Bawa raised Jiba's previous suspensions.

In December 2007, then acting NPA boss Mokotedi Mpshe suspended Jiba for her allegedly conspiring with the police to have then state prosecutor Gerrie Nel arrested in an attempt to scupper an investigation against former police commissioner Jackie Selebi.

The City Press at the time reported that according to its NPA sources, Jiba was trying desperately to procure a warrant for Nel's arrest. She was turned away by more than one prosecutor before she finally succeeded in having an arrest ­warrant issued in the North West.

But Jiba's advocate, Zola Majavu, SC, immediately expressed his surprise.

"I am lost why we are looking at issues of my client's suspension in 2007. How is it relevant to her fitness to hold office today?"

Jiba and Mrwebi were struck from the roll of advocates on September 15, 2016, after Judge Francis Legodi in the North Gauteng High Court agreed with the General Council of the Bar (GCB) that they were "not fit and proper" to be advocates. 

The case went to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein, which ruled in favour of Jiba and Mrwebi.

However, the GCB is appealing the SCA ruling in the Constitutional Court. The matter will be heard on March 14.

The inquiry continues. 

Read more on:    lawrence mrwebi  |  nomgcobo jiba  |  centurion  |  inquiry

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