Former Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Nomgcobo Jiba “lied” to President Cyril Ramaphosa, and should be fired immediately, according to the president’s letter addressed to her.
In his letters to Jiba and former Special Director of Public Prosecutions, Lawrence Mrwebi, Ramaphosa said the findings against them by the Mokgoro Inquiry were of a “very serious nature”.
He said neither of them had provided him with sufficient reasons to keep their jobs.
Ramaphosa fired both Jiba and Mrwebi on Thursday night following the Mokgoro inquiry’s recommendations.
“The findings made against you, based on the evidence before the panel are of a very serious nature. Your submissions however do not offer any response or reason not to accept the panel’s conclusion,” Ramaphosa wrote to Jiba.
“The (Mokgoro) Panel found that you lied to me. The panel made this finding after noting that in your submissions of 10 August 2018, you indicated that you appointed prosecutors from outside KZN, in the Booysen matter, on request of the acting DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) of KZN. However, in your statement under oath before the panel you said this was not the case.
“The Panel concluded that you acted under external pressure in making decisions on charges against General Booysen on the basis of what was stated to you by IPID (Independent Police Investigative Directorate) officials,” Ramaphosa said.
In his letter to Mrwebi, the President repeated that the former prosecutor’s submissions “do not offer any response or reason not to accept the panel’s conclusion”.
“The Panel found that there were contradictions in your testimony, which led the Panel to conclude that you lied about the date on which you prepared the consultative note dealing with the withdrawal of charges against (former crime intelligence boss Richard) Mdluli.
“The panel found that you were wrong in law about the Inspector General of Intelligence’s mandate… The Panel concluded that you accepted representations from members of the Crime Intelligence unit before your appointment to the relevant position and wrongly factored them into your decision and the Panel found that you lied in the Ledwaba trial under oath.”
Ramaphosa was evidently not swayed by the representations of Jiba or Mrwebi.
Jiba in her representations to the president in response to the report on April 18 argued that she should not be fired.
She said that the Mokgoro inquiry was too close to being a disciplinary inquiry, and that it entered the territory of what had been heard in court during the General Council of the Bar’s application to have her struck from the roll of attorneys.
Because of this, Jiba argued, she had not been presented with a “charge sheet” and therefore did not know what the “gist” of the case against her was.
Jiba said that in some cases, she had “failed by relying on those who report to me”.
“In effect, the Panel found that I have been incompetent for relying on the undisputed advice of Senior Counsel in the Spy Tapes matter!” Jiba wrote.
Jiba also argued that the inquiry went beyond its terms of reference by hearing evidence from former NPA prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach, and Willie Hofmeyr, which was “entirely irrelevant”. This is despite the fact that Breytenbach was one of the prosecutors on the Richard Mdluli case, under discussion by the inquiry, and that Hofmeyr was one of Jiba’s colleagues.
Jiba asked for a transfer elsewhere in the public service, if Ramaphosa decided not to reinstate her. Ramaphosa said this was not possible.
“Your request to be appointed in a senior position in the Public Service cannot be acceded to because of the findings of dishonesty and disregard for the courts that have been made against you in the Inquiry report.
“These findings would preclude your appointment to such a position as these are qualities that are required of all senior public servants,” the president wrote.
Mrwebi, in his representations, stood by the fact that he decided to withdraw the charges against Mdluli, in spite of legal advice to the contrary.
He complained to the president that the inquiry accepted “a narrative perpetuated by the media and the Democratic Alliance, namely that he withdrew the charges against Mdluli to benefit (former president Jacob) Zuma”.
“There was simply not one word of evidence placed before the Panel that supports this narrative,” Mrwebi argued. “It would appear that if something is said in the press or in the public a sufficient number of times, it simply becomes the truth…”
Mrwebi also said that there would be a “chilling effect” on prosecutors in the country if a prosecutor could be removed from office “primarily because such a prosecutor applied their minds to facts that were placed before them at the time…”
Mrwebi asked to be allowed to retire if Ramaphosa decided not to keep him in his position, a request declined by Ramaphosa on Thursday.
“Your request that you be given the opportunity to retire, in light of your age cannot be acceded to, because of the seriousness of the findings against you,” Ramaphosa said.
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