Mokgoro inquiry: Mzinyathi forced to withdraw charges against Mdluli

2019-01-30 15:44
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North Gauteng Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Sibongile Mzinyathi has told the Mokgoro inquiry that he was pushed into a corner and forced to agree to the provisional withdrawal of charges against former Crime Intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.

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

But the charges were withdrawn in 2011.

On Wednesday, the North Gauteng DPP gave his version of the events that led to the withdrawal of the charges.

Instruction to withdraw charges 

He said that special director of public prosecutions Lawrence Mrwebi visited him in his office on December 5, 2011 where he was told that he was dealing with the Mdluli representations.

He added that Mrwebi said he was still looking into the matter and also wanted to check up on the regulations attached to the Intelligence Services Oversight Act.

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

"No consensus was reached. He was still going to do some research and the expectation on my side was that he was going to come back to me for further discussions," Mzinyathi testified.

The following day, however, Mzinyathi said he received two memorandums from Mrwebi and one instructed that all charges be withdrawn against Mdluli.

What surprised Mzinyathi even more was the fact that the memorandums were dated December 4 – the day before Mrwebi visited him in his office to speak about the case when consensus could not be reached.

Mzinyathi corroborates Breytenbach evidence

Mzinyathi also corroborated the evidence of former prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach who testified on Tuesday. He said both he and Breytenbach believed there was a prima facie case against Mdluli and that it should not be withdrawn.

This was explained to Mrwebi in a meeting on December 9, where Breytenbach was also present.

"I had already explained my views to him in the e-mail, I pointed out to him that I don't agree that charges have to be withdrawn here. The briefings I have been having and the nature of the allegations in my view establish a prima facie case," said Mzinyathi.

He explained that Mrwebi informed them that the decision to withdraw the charges could not be reversed and said he had already informed Mdluli's attorneys of the decision.

READ: Mokgoro inquiry: How charges were dropped against Mdluli

"After lengthy discussions, we reached an agreement that advocate Chris Smith can go to court and withdraw the matter provisionally, premised on the fact that there are further investigations."

"The fact that a letter had already gone out to the attorneys of Mdluli was a big consideration."

Mzinyathi put it on record that he maintained that the charges should not be withdrawn because there was a prima facie case to be answered. However, they could not have a situation where the court hears the special director, but a DPP disagrees.

"It may not have been an elegant solution, but [Smith] had to go and instruct that the charges are provisionally withdrawn."

Mzinyathi also said the agreement was that the Mdluli matter would be re-enrolled.

The inquiry has been tasked with establishing whether Mrwebi and suspended deputy prosecutions boss Nomgcobo Jiba are fit for office.

The inquiry continues.

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Read more on:    crime intelligence  |  npa  |  nomgcobo jiba  |  richard mdluli  |  lawrence mrwebi  |  mokgoro inquiry
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