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NPA to withdraw charges against Jiba

Newly appointed national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) Shaun Abrahams announced on Tuesday that a decision had been taken to discontinue the prosecution of deputy director of public prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba and that he had “been assured that this decision is rational and sound in law and that there are no reasonable prospects of a successful prosecution”.

The National Prosecuting Authority head told reporters at a briefing in Pretoria that the fraud and perjury charges against Jiba would be formally withdrawn in court on Wednesday.

“On the 13th of August I requested the regional head of the Specialised Commercial Crime Unit, advocate Marshall Mokgatle to provide me with his decision as the regional head of that office, accompanied by a legal opinion,” said Abrahams.

“Late yesterday [Monday] afternoon I received advocate Mokgatle’s decision and opinion in which he decided to decline prosecuting advocate Nomgcobo Jiba on the charges of perjury and fraud.”

Jiba was to go on trial on Wednesday on charges relating to her decision to prosecute Johan Booysen, the head of the Hawks in KwaZulu-Natal, on racketeering charges.

‘Personal capacity’
Abrahams read Mokgatle’s email to the media.

“The decision taken by the then acting NDPP, advocate Jiba, to authorise the racketeering prosecution of Johan Booysen and others was arrived at after briefings by the prosecution team and presentation of a memorandum for her perusal. Section 78 of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act [Poca] of 1998 provides that ‘any person authorised to perform any function in terms of this Act shall not in his or her personal capacity be liable for anything done in good faith’,” Mokgatle wrote.

“The aforementioned provision clearly absolves Ms Jiba from any liability, including criminal prosecution, for having exercised the power in terms of the empowering provisions of Poca. There are no prospects of a successful prosecution and I accordingly decline to prosecute advocate Nomgcobo Jiba for fraud and perjury.”

Abrahams said that after reading Mokgatle’s opinion on the matter, he had sought a further legal view from another director of public prosecutions.

“In that opinion, it is also recommended that a decision to decline to prosecute advocate Jiba be made,” said Abrahams.

Thrown out charges
In February last year, Durban high court Judge Trevor Gorven threw out the charges against Booysen, who was suspended at the time. The judge went on to describe Jiba’s decision to charge Booysen as “arbitrary, [and] offend the principle of legality and, therefore, the rule of law and were unconstitutional”.

In his judgement, Gorven agreed with Booysen’s assertion that Jiba had lied about having certain statements before her when she decided to prosecute and could therefore not have used them to make her decision.

Booysen was accused of running a criminal enterprise consisting of members of the former Cato Manor Organised Crime Unit of which he was the head.

Booysen faced new attempts at suspension last week, when it is understood that police management served him with a “notice of contemplated suspension”. 

Earlier this month, it was reported that Abrahams was planning to drop charges against Jiba.

The Democratic Alliance then threatened to haul Abrahams before Parliament’s portfolio committee on justice and correctional services. – ANA

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