NPA mum on fate of Jiba, Mrwebi after court ruling

NPA boss Shaun Abrahams Picture: muntu vilakazi
NPA boss Shaun Abrahams Picture: muntu vilakazi

The National Prosecuting Authority has remained mum on the future of two of its most senior employees following the damning ruling by the North Gauteng High court this morning that saw them struck off the roll.

The court ruled in favour of the General Council of the Bar of South Africa’s application to have NPA deputy director Nomgcobo Jiba and director of specialised commercial crime unit head Lawrence Mrwebi disbarred.

The bar council had approached the court seeking to have the two top prosecutors disbarred following the damning findings of their conduct in the handling of cases involving former crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli.

On Sibongile Mzinyathi‚ the NPA’s North Gauteng director, the court ruled against the bar council.

City Press has learnt that NPA head Shaun Abrahams – who just returned from a business trip to Ireland – will first obtain the ruling before deciding what to do next.

Abrahams is a close ally of Jiba and Mrwebi who were instrumental in his promotion to the top job.

In his founding affidavit, bar council head Advocate Jeremy Muller said the conduct of the three in three cases had led to the application being brought.

The cases are:

» Their failed attempt to prosecute KwaZulu-Natal Hawks head Johan Booysen;

» President Jacob Zuma’s spy tapes saga; and

» The decision to drop charges against Mdluli.

In the Booysen matter, Jiba’s sworn affidavit was contradicted by the fact that she signed the authorisation two weeks prior to the statement on which she apparently based her approval.

Judge Trevor Gorven condemned the decision by Jiba – who was the acting national director of public prosecutions at the time – to prosecute Booysen, saying the charges did not meet even the barest of minimum requirements.

Muller said part of the code of conduct for prosecutors stated they must be individuals of integrity whose conduct is objective, honest and sincere.

Jiba, Mzinyathi and Mrwebi were all accused of perjury for having lied under oath. The charges stem from the adverse findings made about the NPA’s leadership in the handling of a case against Mdluli.

The move followed a successful court challenge – brought by rights group Freedom Under Law – which compelled the NPA to review the decision to drop criminal charges against Mdluli.

The Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution last year also described the Supreme Court of Appeal ruling to release Zuma’s spy tapes as proof Jiba was unfit for office.

The court slammed Jiba’s conduct, saying the way the NPA had conducted itself tainted the institution, and ordered it to hand over the recordings used as justification to withdraw criminal charges against Zuma to the DA.

In 2009, the NPA said the conversations contained in the recordings were proof of a conspiracy against the president, so it had to withdraw the charges.

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