Jiba and Mrwebi sabotaged investigations, Willie Hofmeyr tells Mokgoro commission

Advocate Nomgcobo is accused of interfering in cases to influence their outcomes.
Advocate Nomgcobo is accused of interfering in cases to influence their outcomes.

Suspended deputy director of public prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba prosecuted those who were perceived as obstacles to corruption and state capture.

This was a damning statement from deputy national director of public prosecutions at the NPA, Willie Hofmeyr when he testified at an inquiry into his colleagues Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi's fitness to hold office.

"It’s incredibly difficult to have people work in an organisation that are either spying on the organisation to give information to accused people or trying to sabotage its work in various ways."

On day nine of the hearings, chaired by retired judge Yvonne Mokgoro, Hofmeyr testified that he had serious concerns about the pair’s fitness.

"For members of the NPA to actively collaborate with others to sabotage or attempt to sabotage an investigation, I think is as serious as it can get," Hofmeyr said.

He accused both Jiba and Mrwebi of interfering in cases to influence their outcomes.

"Once you start manipulating the outcomes of cases to please politicians, that ends up being a disaster for the NPA - and is what we have seen over the past two years," Hofmeyr said.

In his affidavit to the commission, the one-time head of the Asset Forfeiture Unit said he believed Jiba was unfit to hold office because she "played political games".

"A very concerning development trend that emerged under Jiba, and was almost institutionalised by [Shaun] Abrahams, was to prosecute those who were perceived as obstacles to corruption and the capture of the state," Hofmeyr testified.

He mentioned Jiba’s involvement in having former prosecutor Gerrie Nel arrested as "an attempt to derail the Selebi prosecution".

Nel was arrested in 2008 while investigating former police commissioner Jackie Selebi and the charges were later then withdrawn.

Hofmeyr inferred in his evidence that Jiba’s involvement in Nel’s arrest was because the latter had investigated and arrested Jiba’s husband, Booker Nhantsi, for stealing his client's money.

"Their conduct in assisting the police to arrest Nel also put them in direct conflict with the obligations on a prosecutor to act impartially, which requires that they do not become personally involved in any matter," he said in his sworn statement.

Hofmeyr also referenced the wrongful prosecution of the Hawks' KwaZulu-Natal head, Johan Booysen, as another reason why Jiba should not hold office.

"I submit that the charges laid against Booysen were an attempt to remove him from office, or at least to ensure that a more pliable acting head would be appointed in his place who would close down the investigations [of corruption against ANC KwaZulu-Natal politicians]," he said in his affidavit.

When asked about Mrwebi, he said he believed Mrwebi was too incompetent to hold the office of special director of public prosecutions.

"I think the way in which he refused to co-operate with Mr Nxasana was also a serious issue. It literally got to a stage where he wouldn't give information and his office would have to get searched for information," Hofmeyr said.

He further detailed how both Jiba and Mrwebi were insubordinate and refused to provide former NDPP Mxolisi Nxasana with reports on controversial cases the NPA was dealing with at the time.

The hearing is expected to continue on Friday.

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