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Jiba, Mrwebi suspended as Ramaphosa institutes inquiries into fitness

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Oct 25, 2018

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Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa has instituted inquiries which will probe deputy NDPP Nomgcobo Jiba and Special Director of Public Prosecutions Lawrence Mrwebi’s fitness to hold office. 

Ramaphosa informed Jiba and Mrwebi on Thursday of his decision. The two have been placed on suspension, with full pay, effective from October 25 pending the finalisation of the inquiry. 

The inquiries will be led by former Constitutional Court Justice Yvonne Mokgoro with the assistance of Kgomotso Moroka SC and Attorney Thenjiwe Vilakazi.

The terms of reference for the inquiry will be developed by evidence leader Nazreen Bawa SC. 

In a letter to the pair, the president said he had considered the serious nature of the allegations against them and protecting the image of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). 

 “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. 

It is the interest of the NPA’s image as a whole that I consider here, and of the integrity of an enquiry that must result in the clearest and most convincing conclusions about the integrity, and sound leadership of the NPA,” Ramaphosa in the letters to Jiba and Mrwebi. 

“The inquiry will be established in terms of Section 12(6) of the National Prosecuting Authority Act, which applies directly to Adv. Jiba and read with Section 14(3) applies to Adv. Mrwebi, and sets out the conditions under which the president may provisionally suspend the National Director or a Deputy National Director from his or her office, pending an inquiry into his or her fitness to hold such office,” said the presidency in a statement on Thursday afternoon. 

Ramaphosa’s decision follows a request earlier this year to the two to make submissions on why they should not be placed on suspension. 

The two made their submissions in August. 

Both Jiba and Mrwebi were placed on special leave in 2016 and last year the Pretoria High Court set aside a decision by NPA head Shaun Abrahams to withdraw fraud and perjury charges against Jiba.

They were barred from performing their functions at the NPA pending the outcome of their appeal against their scrapping off the roll.

On July 10, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) overturned the striking off the roll of Jiba and Mrwebi. 

In a majority judgment delivered by Judge Connie Mocumie, the SCA upheld their appeal against a 2016 ruling by the Pretoria High Court with costs.

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