Sun, 26 May 2019

It appears to be the end of the road for advocates Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi, given the finding by retired Constitutional Court Justice Yvonne Mokgoro that the pair is neither fit nor proper to hold their respective offices within the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), EWN reported on Thursday.

Mokgoro led an inquiry into Jiba and Mrwebi. She handed her report to President Cyril Ramaphosa at the beginning of April, News24 reported.

In her report, Mokgoro recommends that Ramaphosa remove Jiba from office as Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions, as well as Mrwebi from office as Special Director of Public Prosecutions.

Jiba and Mrwebi were suspended in October 2018 after Ramaphosa announced his decision to institute an inquiry into their fitness to hold office.

In a letter to Jiba and Mrwebi, Ramaphosa previously said: "I have taken into account the serious nature of allegations that you are unfit to be in so high an office, where the work of our criminal justice system is central to the critical and pressing matter of all prosecutions, especially prosecution of corruption cases and safeguard of our public purse.

"You hold a senior position with influence over a large swathe of the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority). It is the interest of the NPA's image as a whole that I consider here, and of the integrity of an enquiry (sic) that must result in the clearest and most convincing conclusions about the integrity, and sound leadership of the NPA."

Jiba and Mrwebi were earlier told to make representations to Ramaphosa in response to the report by April 16.

Compromised integrity

According to EWN, the report's key findings are compromised integrity; lack of leadership; dishonesty; and a failure to maintain high standard of professional ethics, accountability and transparency.

"Jiba and Mrwebi have been involved in litigation in both their personal and official capacities over the years," said Mokgoro in the report. "They have, however, failed to introspect and reflect on the issues which have beset the NPA with their involvement, as reflected in this report," as quoted by EWN.

According to Times Live, the report states: "In view of the totality of evidence, and in light of the evaluation ... we find that both Jiba and Mrwebi are not fit and proper to hold their respective offices."

Mokgoro's report said Jiba's conduct on multiple instances showed a "lack of conscientiousness", while Mrwebi was found to have failed to act without favour and to the prejudice of the NPA.

The inquiry reportedly considered Jiba's role in charging former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Johan Booysen, her role in the spy tapes matter and both their roles in the withdrawal of charges against controversial former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.

Turning to Mrwebi, Mokgoro found that his decision to withdraw fraud charges against Mdluli was against the NPA Act and found that he did not act with integrity, according to Times Live.

Last year, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) overturned a ruling by the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria that Jiba and Mrwebi be struck from the roll of advocates, News24 reported.

However, the General Council of the Bar of South Africa (GCB) later filed papers in the Constitutional Court for leave to appeal the SCA ruling..

The apex court has reserved judgment on the matter.

This is a developing story.

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