Jiba pressured to prosecute Booysen, despite having 'no evidence', Mokgoro inquiry hears

2019-01-25 20:50
Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba with advocate Gerhard Nel on Friday. (Sarel van der Walt, Netwerk24)

Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba with advocate Gerhard Nel on Friday. (Sarel van der Walt, Netwerk24)

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Suspended Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba was under pressure to prosecute Johan Booysen, the former head of the Hawks in KwaZulu-Natal, for racketeering despite not having evidence against him.   

This was revealed on Friday by senior state prosecutor Jan Ferreira before the Mokgoro inquiry, headed by retired Constitutional Court Judge Yvonne Mokgoro.  

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

Ferreira told the inquiry that then acting KwaZulu-Natal director of public prosecutions Simphiwe Mlotshwa stated in an affidavit that he had received a phone call from Jiba, who said "there is a case and because of pressure it had to be enrolled urgently".

"Later on, he was given an indictment and asked to sign [it]. He refused to sign the indictment without a prosecutorial memo," Ferreira said.

Ferreira said when he wrote his legal opinion, which was given to then National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Shaun Abrahams, there was "no evidence against General Booysen".

"It was quite clear because of the fact that you would not find Booysen on any of the scenes during the shooting," he said.

READ: Mdluli was 'protected from being prosecuted', Mokgoro inquiry hears

But Jiba's lawyer, advocate Thabani Masuku, SC, said Ferreira "went way far beyond simply providing a legal opinion on whether or not there were perjury charges – you almost went into the defence of general Booysen".

Ferreira replied: "No, I don't think I went to his defence but what I had to do is to make out what case there is against advocate Jiba."

Masuku also asked Ferreira if he thought Jiba was under political pressure for the prosecution to proceed.

Application for leave to appeal withdrawn

"I don't know what pressure because she was the one who had a telephone conversation with Simphiwe Mlotshwa and spoke about pressure that's on her to enrol the case. I don't know what pressure.

"But from the police's side I know that there [were] police that wanted to get rid of Booysen," Ferreira said.

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

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.

On Thursday, the inquiry heard that the North West director of public prosecutions declined to prosecute Jiba on the charges.  

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

READ: DECLINE TO PROSECUTE: Mokgoro inquiry hears of unofficial Jiba decision

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

"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. I decline to prosecute." 

The decision was made in August last year.

The inquiry will continue next week.

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Read more on:    npa  |  johan booysen  |  nomgcobo jiba  |  mokgoro inquiry
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