Mokgoro inquiry: Lawrence Mrwebi to take the stand for the first time

2019-02-20 05:26
Lawrence Mrwebi (Herman Verwey, Beeld)

Lawrence Mrwebi (Herman Verwey, Beeld)

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Suspended special director of public prosecutions, advocate Lawrence Mrwebi, will have the opportunity to respond to his detractors and accusers as he takes the stand for the first time on Wednesday at the Mokgoro inquiry in Centurion.  

The inquiry, which is led by retired justice of the Constitutional Court Yvonne Mokgoro, will also hear the testimony of suspended deputy national director of public prosecutions, advocate Nomgcobo Jiba this week.  

President Cyril Ramaphosa suspended both Jiba and Mrwebi in October 2018, pending the outcome of the inquiry.

In the past weeks, the inquiry has heard how Mrwebi allegedly interfered with the investigation of then-Crime Intelligence boss Richard Mdluli, in order to stop the case.

This was revealed by Colonel Kobus Roelofse of the Hawks at the inquiry earlier this month.

Roelofse said Mrwebi made it difficult for them to investigate the matter, because of the "views" he held at the time.

Mdluli was facing charges of fraud, theft and corruption for allegedly pillaging the Crime Intelligence slush fund.

READ: Jiba and Mrwebi suspended: What it means for Ramaphosa and the NPA

During his testimony, Roelofse also told Mokgoro that there had been a decision to inform police officers to stop the investigation.

But Mrwebi's legal representatives have maintained that the Mdluli matter had not been ready to go to court, and was still not.

The reason for this was because the matter was never properly investigated, advocate Ally Ramawele, SC, said at the time.

Ramaphosa is expected to receive the inquiry report on March 9. 

In a letter to Jiba and Mrwebi, Ramaphosa said: "I have taken into account the serious nature of allegations that you are unfit to be in so high an office, where the work of our criminal justice system is central to the critical and pressing matter of all prosecutions, especially prosecution of corruption cases and safeguard of our public purse.

"You hold a senior position with influence over a large swathe of the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority). It is the interest of the NPA's image as a whole that I consider here, and of the integrity of an enquiry (sic) that must result in the clearest and most convincing conclusions about the integrity, and sound leadership of the NPA."

Last year, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) overturned a ruling by the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria that Jiba and Mrwebi be struck from the roll of advocates.

However, the General Council of the Bar of South Africa (GCB) later filed papers in the Constitutional Court for leave to appeal the SCA ruling.

In the papers, GCB chairperson Craig Watt-Pringle, SC, said he believed there were "reasonable prospects of success in an appeal".

Jiba and Mrwebi are opposing the application. The matter will be heard in court on March 14.

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