THE suspended national deputy director of public prosecutions, advocate Nomgcobo Jiba, relied on the testimony of a single expert to justify her decision to authorise the prosecution of former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss, General Johan Booysen, on charges of racketeering.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) allegedly also failed to follow its own set of criteria to charge any person with racketeering.
This was the evidence of the former Asset Forfeiture Unit boss Willie Hofmeyr during his cross-examination by Jiba’s legal counsel, advocate Norman Arendse, SC, before the Mokgoro Inquiry yesterday.
The Mokgoro probe, led by retired Constitutional Court Judge Yvonne Mokgoro, is probing the fitness of Jiba and Special Commercial Crime Unit head advocate Lawrence Mrwebi to hold office in the NPA. Hofmeyr was reacting to Arendse’s line of questioning that Jiba’s decision to only use advocate Anthony Mosing - one of the senior officials in the NPA’s Organised Crime Desk - to approve racketeering charges against Booysen, was endorsed by the full bench of the High Court in Pretoria in September 2016.
In his reaction, Hofmeyr was adamant that Jiba had undermined the NPA’s own internal processes to prefer racketeering charges against any suspect in the country.
He said the NPA’s Organised Crime Desk was composed of more than five senior advocates, who included Mosing, who all took a collective decision to charge Booysen, saying this had not happened. According to Hofmeyr, Jiba allegedly only considered Mosing’s affidavit, while excluding the opinions of others.
“Normal criteria to charge General Booysen with racketeering was not met,” Hofmeyr insisted. He said Jiba’s alleged failure to follow processes, later became a subject of fierce discussions and criticisms at various NPA executive committee meetings, while former National Director of Public Prosecutions Mxolisi Nxasana was at the helm.
Hofmeyr conceded that the failure had influenced Nxasana’s decision not to appeal the ruling of Judge Trevor Gorven, who found that Jiba had, at the time of Booysen’s initial legal challenge to the charges against him, failed to meet the requirements to justify those charges.
But Arendse was quick to point out that the full bench of the High Court in Pretoria in 2016 - despite striking Jiba and Mrwebi off the roll of advocates - agreed that there was a basis for her to charge Booysen.
In his summary, Arendse said the judgment found that the courts were allowed to depend on hearsay evidence, and so was Jiba for the purpose of authorising the racketeering charges.
But Hofmeyer disagreed, saying it “was unlawful”. His reaction prompted Arendse to say that he was going to demonstrate today that Hofmeyr was also found have made a controversial decision during the Spy tapes saga.
Arendse said Hofmeyr deposed an affidavit in the Spy Tapes which was criticised in the Supreme Court of Appeal in October 2017 - which ordered the reinstatement of fraud and corruption charges against former president Jacob Zuma.