Adv Lawrence Mrwebi testifying before the Mokgoro inquiry. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
Adv Lawrence Mrwebi testifying before the Mokgoro inquiry. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

'They gave it to someone else'- Mrwebi on R10k 'bribe' from Agrizzi

By BALDWIN NDABA Time of article published Feb 20, 2019

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Centurion - Top National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) prosecutor Adv Lawrence Mrwebi has dismissed claims made by former Bosasa boss Angelo Agrizzi that he was paid R10 000 month to allow the facilities company bosses to avoid prosecution by the NPA.

“They gave it to someone else,” he said, denying claims made by Agrizzi before the Zondo Commission probing state capture in the country last month.

On Wednesday, Mrwebi denied Agrizzi’s testimony while appearing before the Mokgoro inquiry which is probing his fitness, along with Adv Nomgcobo Jiba, to hold office in the NPA.

He was emphatic that he never received payments of R10 000 monthly from Bosasa in exchange of providing the facilities company bosses with sensitive information about NPA’s plans to charge senior Bosasa officials with racketeering, fraud and corruption.

Agrizzi had alleged that Mrwebi and Jiba were instrumental in providing them with several prosecutorial memorandums which prosecutors, such as former NPA top commercial crime prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach, had intended to use against Bosasa officials.

Mrwebi’s dismissal of Agrizzi’s testimony was preceded by other series of denials which included allegations that had assisted former police commissioner, Jackie Selebi in his failed attempt to avoid criminal prosecution.

Mrwebi said he had never met Selebi prior to charges of fraud and corruption preferred against him in 2007. 

He said the allegations surfaced because his senior officials, at the time in 2006, had failed to internally prosecute him on trumped allegations of insubordination.

Mrwebi also denied allegations he leaked sensitive Scorpions information to Selebi.

He also denied his involvement in the arrest of Advocate Gerrie Nel allegedly to pave way for Selebi to approach the High Court in Joburg in January 2008 to apply for a permanent stay of prosecution.

Adv Mrwebi told the Mokgoro inquiry that his troubles with his seniors, including Willie Hofmeyr, began in 2006 when he refused to obey an instruction to pay an NPA informant.

He said his refusal was based on the fact that informant, despite being on NPA’s payroll, continued to be involved in serious underworld activities. 

Mrwebi said in spite of his resistance, he was ordered to pay him. According to him, his initial refusal, led to senior managers threatening disciplinary action against him.

“I had to lodge a grievance with the CCMA in 2006,” he said.

He said his troubles worsened after the media published a Browse Mole Report that claimed that Zuma, former Libya president Muammar Gaddafi and Eduardo Dos Santos - former president of Angola wanted to topple Mbeki.

He said Mbeki then established a National Intelligence Task Team to probe the origin of the report.

“I was then approached by the investigators while I was still in Durban. They told me that the report had emerged from my office. I was shocked. I do not know if I turned white, pink or red because of their revelations,” Mrwebi said. 

He said he gave the investigators a report about what transpired at a Scorpions meeting on July 25, 2007. He said in that meeting former Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy gave a list of four cases to urgently prosecute. He said top of the list was the Jacob Zuma matter - which he is still facing now in the Durban High Court. 

Others on the list included the prosecution of former transport minister Mac Maharaj and two others including the Bad Guys Projects.

In his testimony, Mrwebi said that McCarthy and some of senior NPA officials, were of the view that the early prosecution of the four cases would stall the ANC’s decision to disband Scorpions. 

He said he only gave that report to the investigators but was shocked when The Star newspaper reported that: “Mdluli: the only hope for Selebi”.

According to him, it was likely that the person who leaked information to Selebi were the investigators.

The hearings continue

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