CityPress - - Front Page - CHARL DU PLESSIS charl.duplessis@city­

Three of the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Au­thor­ity’s most se­nior lead­ers have been crim­i­nally charged with per­jury.

City Press can to­day re­veal that for­mer act­ing Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Au­thor­ity (NPA) head Nomg­cobo Jiba, Spe­cial Com­mer­cialised Crimes Unit head Lawrence Mr­webi and Provin­cial Direc­tor of Pros­e­cu­tions in Pre­to­ria Si­bongile Mziny­athi have had crim­i­nal charges of per­jury laid against them.

The charges fol­low damn­ing court find­ings made about the NPA’s lead­er­ship last year in the case in which rights group Free­dom Un­der Law suc­cess­fully ap­plied to over­turn the drop­ping of crim­i­nal charges against sus­pended po­lice crime in­tel­li­gence boss Richard Md­luli.

It has also emerged that Na­tional Direc­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions (NDPP) Mx­olisi Nx­as­ana has writ­ten to Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma ask­ing him to sus­pend Jiba, Mr­webi and Mziny­athi, pend­ing in­quiries into their fit­ness to hold of­fice.

Md­luli – who fa­mously pledged his sup­port for Zuma ahead of the ANC’s Man­gaung elec­tive con­fer­ence if Zuma “as­sisted” him with his sus­pen­sion – will to­mor­row ap­pear in the Palm Ridge Mag­is­trates’ Court on charges in­clud­ing kid­nap­ping, as­sault and in­tim­i­da­tion.

The case re­lates to the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the 1998 mur­der of Oupa Ramokgibe and was one of the sets of crim­i­nal charges that Judge John Murphy in the High Court re­cently or­dered the NPA to re­in­state against Md­luli. This order was con­firmed by the Supreme Court of Ap­peal (SCA).

Nathi Mn­cube, spokesper­son for the NPA, con­firmed that a crim­i­nal com­plaint of per­jury had been laid against Jiba, Mrebi and Mziny­athi.

He also con­firmed that Md­luli would to­mor­row make his “first ap­pear­ance” in court, but he de­clined to com­ment fur­ther.

Asked about the re­quest for the sus­pen­sion of Jiba, Mr­webi and Mziny­athi, Mthunzi Mhaga, spokesper­son for Jus­tice Min­is­ter Michael Ma­sutha, con­firmed to City Press that Ma­sutha had re­ceived cor­re­spon­dence from a se­nior NPA of­fi­cial on July 29.

“How­ever, we are not at lib­erty to give de­tails or com­ment on con­tents thereof as we con­sider that to be an in­ter­nal mat­ter,” said Mhaga.

Nx­as­ana, who is also fac­ing an in­quiry into his fit­ness to hold of­fice, has been asked by Zuma why he should not be sus­pended pend­ing the in­quiry.

Yes­ter­day Beeld re­ported that com­plaints were also laid against Jiba, Mziny­athi and Mr­webi at the Bar. This, along with the sus­pen­sion that Nx­as­ana has asked Zuma for and the crim­i­nal charge of per­jury, was con­tained in a le­gal opinion Nx­as­ana ob­tained from se­nior lawyer Pat El­lis.

In the Free­dom Un­der Law mat­ter, Judge Murphy ruled that the de­ci­sion to with­draw fraud and cor­rup­tion charges against Md­luli, taken by Mr­webi in Fe­bru­ary last year, was “il­le­gal, ir­ra­tional, based on ir­rel­e­vant con­sid­er­a­tions and ma­te­rial er­rors of law, and ul­ti­mately so un­rea­son­able that no rea­son­able pros­e­cu­tor could have taken it”.

Murphy ruled that Mr­webi’s sub­se­quent ex­pla­na­tion that he had only pro­vi­sion­ally with­drawn charges against Md­luli was “prob­a­bly in­vented”.

The SCA con­firmed that this di­rectly con­tra­dicted what Mziny­athi and Mr­webi had said un­der oath in the dis­ci­plinary hear­ing of for­mer pros­e­cu­tor Glyn­nis Breytenbach. And Jiba had claimed un­der oath that this de­ci­sion was never brought to her at­ten­tion, but the SCA ruled that the mat­ter was brought to Jiba’s at­ten­tion by Breytenbach in a 200-page me­moran­dum.

Nomg­cobo Jiba

Lawrence Mr­webi

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