Mokgoro inquiry: Witnesses wanted to settle scores - Mrwebi's counsel

2019-02-28 22:51
Suspended special director of public prosecutions advocate Lawrence Mrwebi at the Mokgoro inquiry. (Phill Magakoe, Gallo Images, file)

Suspended special director of public prosecutions advocate Lawrence Mrwebi at the Mokgoro inquiry. (Phill Magakoe, Gallo Images, file)

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Suspended special director of public prosecutions Lawrence Mrwebi's legal representatives have argued that witnesses who came before the Mokgoro inquiry wanted to "settle scores".

During closing submissions, Mrwebi's advocate Mervyn Rip, SC, told the inquiry that the witnesses wanted to "throw as much mud" at Mrwebi and suspended deputy prosecutions boss Nomgcobo Jiba.

"Much of the evidence was in any case hearsay and based upon what they heard from other sources," he said.

The inquiry, headed by retired Constitutional Court Justice Yvonne Mokgoro, has been tasked with establishing whether Mrwebi and Jiba are fit to hold office.

"We submit that unless gross incompetence, irregularities or non-compliance with the duties of advocate Mrwebi is shown, then he should be accepted to be a fit and proper person," Rip said.

"Any other approach would result in such officials becoming paralysed in their functioning as prosecutors looking fearfully over the shoulders as to when they might have to explain their actions in an inquiry such as this."

READ: 'I have no reason to favour Mdluli' - Lawrence Mrwebi testifies

Rip added that the inquiry should separate the actual evidence from what he called "narratives". 

"The narrative, with respect, clouds and obfuscates the real inquiry here, namely that advocates Jiba and Mrwebi in collusion and concert acted with mala fide intent to protect Lieutenant General [Richard] Mdluli from being prosecuted," he said.

Rip argued that there was no direct evidence to support a conclusion by some of the witnesses that the charges were being withdrawn for ulterior purposes.

"It would appear that much of the bad press and publicity that surrounded the NPA came about as a result of the fact that there were simply too many different leaders over a short period of time who were involved with the administration or maladministration of the organisation.

"It would appear that the NPA had become a hot bed for incrimination and back-stabbing between the various senior management officials.

"We submit that this is probably due largely to the continued change of leadership and insecurity that it would have created amongst the top management within the organisation."

Rip said on December 9, 2011 Mrwebi had a meeting with advocates Glynnis Breytenbach and Sibongile Mzinyathi about the Mdluli matter.

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

ALSO READ: 'I went through the worst in this organisation' – Mrwebi

Rip said advocates Breytenbach, Mzinyathi and Mrwebi agreed on that date that there would be a provisional withdrawal of the charges against Mdluli.

He said the three agreed that the matter would be investigated further under the guidance of Breytenbach and that the matter would be referred to the inspector general for assistance.   

"It can only be said that advocate Mrwebi's decision to provisionally withdraw the charges at that time is blameworthy if the evidence shows unequivocally that it was done in a mala fide manner with ulterior purposes.

"The basis upon which advocate Mrwebi believed that there were no prospects of successful prosecution at the time that he made his decision is also justifiable and reasonable in the circumstances," Rip said.

Read more on:    lawrence mrwebi  |  nomgcobo jiba
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