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Court delivers damning judgment on Jiba, Mrwebi

Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit head Lawrence Mrwebi and Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba. Pictures: Etienne Creux and Motshwari Mofokeng

Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit head Lawrence Mrwebi and Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba. Pictures: Etienne Creux and Motshwari Mofokeng

Published Dec 21, 2017

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Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma was ordered to institute disciplinary inquiries against Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions, Nomgcobo Jiba and Special Director of Public Prosecutions, Lawrence Mrwebi into their fitness to hold office in the National Prosecuting Authority.

But this will be put on hold for now, pending appeal proceedings in the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein next year, where the pair will fight their axing as advocates. 

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This damning judgement against the pair was delivered on Thursday in the Gauteng High Court Pretoria. 

Judge Billy Mothle granted an order in favour of Freedom Under Law (FUL) to review and set aside the failure by Zuma to suspend and institute inquiries into their fitness to hold office. 

Read:  Court application to force Zuma into NPA inquiry 'premature'

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The judge ordered that Jiba and Mrwebi had to face a disciplinary inquiry and they had to be suspended pending the outcome of the inquiries. He, however, suspended the implementation of this, pending the outcome of the pair’s appeal proceedings to the SCA.

Court ordered Pres Zuma to institute disciplinary action against NPA heads Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi. But this is on ice pending their appeal to SCA against axing as advocates @pretorianews @IOL pic.twitter.com/AuLaDpoSFx

— Zelda Venter (@ZeldaVenter) December 21, 2017

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Both Jiba and Mrwebi were earlier struck from the roll of advocates after the court In a scathing judgment found they lack the integrity required of them as advocates. The striking off application was brought by the General Council l of the Bar (GCB). They, however, obtained leave to appeal against that order.

Also read:  'Zuma's decision not to institute inquiry into Jiba, Mrwebi unconstitutional

But in more bad news for Jiba and Mrwebi, Judge Mothle did order that pending the finalisation of their appeals before the SCA, both are prohibited from performing any functions relating to their offices in the NPA. They may not enter the NPA’s offices, nor may they engage in any discussion concerning any pending cases under consideration by the NPA. 

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The court also set aside the decision of NDPP Advocate Shaun Abrahams to withdraw charges of perjury and fraud against Jiba.

FUL’s legal team earlier argued that both Jiba and Mrwebi were high-ranking officials within NPA,  who have clearly and repeatedly misconducted themselves in such a manner as to render them unfit for their high office.

Judge Mothle remarked that until the completion of the appeal proceedings before the SCA, Jiba and Mrwebi remain struck from the roll of advocates and thus cease to be officials in their respective capacities in the NPA. 

“However, should the appeal be successful, they may be declared advocates in good standing. In such instance, the question of their standing and fitness to continue as officials of the NPA would then have to be addressed.” 

Judge Mothle said this was the reason why he had put the suspension and disciplinary inquiry on hold for now. “To direct the president to suspend and hold inquiries against Jiba and Mrwebi forthwith might result in an exercise running parallel with the appeal process, with the risk of resulting in a waste of resources in the event the appeal process fails,” he said.

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