Mrwebi pleads innocence for letting Mdluli off-hook

Lawrence Mrwebi.
Lawrence Mrwebi.
Image: Vathiswa Ruselo

Lawrence Mrwebi's lawyer, Mervyn Rip, has presented evidence which suggests his client's failure to properly consult prior to withdrawing a case involving a senior police officer was not malicious but rather an "honest misunderstanding".

Yesterday, Rip told an inquiry headed by retired Justice Yvonne Mokgoro that the requirement to consult other directors on a decision to prosecute only came in 2015 after Mrwebi had decided not to charge former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.

The Mokgoro Inquiry, sitting in Centurion, has been established to look into the fitness of advocates Nomgcobo Jiba and Mrwebi to hold office. Jiba is the deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions while Mrwebi is the Special Director of Public Prosecutions.

The two are suspended pending the outcome of the inquiry.

Mrwebi was criticised by the courts for his 2011 decision not to prosecute Mdluli.

The NPA Act requires such a decision to be taken in consultation with other directors of public prosecutions.

However, Rip told the inquiry that clarity on the obligation to consult on a decision was only included in the prosecution policy directives in 2015.

Silas Ramaite, the acting National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) was the first witness to present evidence in the inquiry.

Ramaite is acting NDPP until the end of the month when Shamila Batohi assumes her position after her appointment by President Cyril Ramaphosa last year.

Earlier, Jiba's lawyer Thabani Masuku, SC, denied the Sunday Times report that she and Mrwebi received bribes of R100,000 and R10,000 a month, respectively, from facilities company Bosasa.

The revelation were contained in the evidence which was to be presented by former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi before the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture.

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