Mokgoro inquiry: Mrwebi and Jiba allegedly assisted in arrest of Gerrie Nel to delay Selebi prosecution

2019-01-31 17:11
Suspended deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Nomgcobo Jiba (Sarel van der Walt, Netwerk24)

Suspended deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Nomgcobo Jiba (Sarel van der Walt, Netwerk24)

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Two of South Africa's most senior prosecutors, who have been suspended while their fitness to hold office is investigated, allegedly assisted in the arrest of advocate Gerrie Nel in 2008.

This was allegedly to delay the prosecution of former national police commissioner Jackie Selebi, the Mokgoro inquiry heard on Thursday.

"Their conduct in assisting the police to arrest Nel also put them in direct conflict with the obligations of a prosecutor to act impartially, which requires that they do not become personally involved in the matter," Deputy NDPP Willie Hofmeyr said in an affidavit.

Hofmeyer testified on day nine of the inquiry, which is looking into the fitness of suspended deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Nomgcobo Jiba and suspended special director of public prosecutions Lawrence Mrwebi.

He said Selebi filed an application for a permanent stay of prosecution while Nel was under arrest.

"One can only surmise that the strategy was to ensure that Nel would be in custody and not available to assist with drafting and opposing the application," Hofmeyr said.

ALSO READ: Gerrie Nel vs The Accused

The witness further alleged that the assistance to delay the prosecution of Selebi came in the form of an affidavit by Jiba, who wanted to settle a "personal score" with Nel.

"She had a grudge against Nel due to the prosecution of her husband.

"Her dislike may have played a part in her role in securing Nel's arrest, but they may have also been political motivations/interference as they were assisting the police," Hofmeyr said.

Charges were later dropped against Nel.

ALSO READ: Gerrie Nel's history with Jiba not an issue - AfriForum

Nel led the team that successfully prosecuted Jiba's husband, former lawyer Booker Nhantsi, for the misappropriation of trust funds at a law firm.

Nhantsi was later pardoned by former president Jacob Zuma.

"They were suspended for their role in the arrest of Nel and approached the Labour Court to overturn this.

"The Labour Court matter was settled and they were reinstated, probably because of pressure at a political level," Hofmeyr said.

In response, Jiba's advocate, Norman Arendse, SC,  furnished the witness with the said affidavit and asked if it showcased any level of animosity or a dislike for Nel.

"Do you agree that it is not an affidavit that is passing judgment?

"There is nothing in the affidavit that supports your criticism of Jiba's role in the arrest of Nel," Arendse asked.

"It is a surprising affidavit to me. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) had its own internal procedures. It seems extraordinary to me that an affidavit was made before approaching the NDPP," he said.

Hofmeyr's cross-examination will continue on Monday.

Colonel Kobus Roelofse and advocate Simphiwe Mlotshwa are expected to testify on Friday.

Read more on:    npa  |  nomgcobo jiba  |  jackie selebi  |  gerrie nel
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