The National Prosecuting Authority says claims that its chief executive raided and took documents from Lawrence Mrwebi's office are "distorted".
Reports about a raid on specialised commercial crime unit head Lawrence Mrwebi’s office were “distorted and inaccurate”, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said on Tuesday.
“It is unfortunate that internal information was not only disclosed to the media without any authority but was distorted and inaccurate,” the NPA said in a statement. It said the national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) had asked Mrwebi numerous times to hand certain information to him, but he never did.
According to a report on Sunday, NPA chief executive Karen van Rensburg, and her deputy Beryl Sisulu, accompanied by officials from the risk and security unit, on Friday took more than 30 documents from Mrwebi’s office. The Sunday Independent reported that most of the documents related to investigations by the Integrity Management Unit (IMU) into former NPA prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach.
The NPA refused to comment, saying it was an internal matter. However, Mrwebi confirmed his office was raided. “There was not even time to debate anything as they started taking every document in the office, including police dockets and representations in respect of criminal cases I was working on, as well as my laptop,” Mrwebi was quoted as saying.
He told the newspaper he was going to write to Justice Minister Michael Masutha about the raid. “This was embarrassing and humiliating. I was being constructively dismissed. I don’t know why they did this,” Mrwebi told the paper. The NPA on Tuesday said Van Rensburg was chief information officer and custodian of the property and information, and entitled to be furnished with it.
“The information taken did not relate to any matter involving former NPA employee Ms Breytenbach or IMU investigations, as alleged by the official in the media reports,” the NPA said.
Earlier this month, criminal charges were laid against three senior NPA officials, including Mrwebi. Along with former acting NPA head Nomgcobo Jiba, and director of public prosecutions for north Gauteng, Sibongile Mzinyathi, Mrwebi is facing charges of perjury.
At the time, City Press newspaper reported that the charges followed court findings made about the NPA’s leadership last year. – Sapa