State attorney Gosiame Peter Seleka admitted that National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) bigwig Nomgcobo Jiba was at the NPA offices in Pretoria while on special leave, but has provided specific reasons for the visits.
In a letter seen by News24, Seleka dismissed allegations by Freedom Under Law (FUL) that Jiba had acted in contempt of a 2017 court order when she visited the offices, even though she was placed on special leave.
Seleka explained that Jiba did not perform any function relating to her office, save for a case in which she had “institutional knowledge”.
This, after FUL said in a statement on Sunday that it was preparing to take National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Shaun Abrahams to court, claiming that he and Jiba were in contempt of court.
The non-profit organisation said Abrahams was aware of Jiba’s visits.
But, in a lawyer’s letter to FUL, Seleka said the December 2017 court order by the Pretoria High Court — which prohibited Jiba from entering the NPA offices — had since been suspended in light of Section 18 of the Superior Courts Act.
Seleka said the legislation provided that the operation and execution of a decision that is the subject of an application for leave to appeal was suspended, pending the decision of the appeal, unless there were exceptional circumstances.
Owing to the fact that Jiba had filed a leave to appeal application in January 2018, the December 2017 decision was suspended, Seleka said.
“Your contention that Ms Jiba’s presence at the NPA offices constitutes a contravention of the 21 December order, is therefore devoid of any merit,” Seleka wrote.
He also responded to FUL’s request for an explanation from Abrahams for Jiba’s presence at the NPA premises twice in the past six months.
Seleka said Abrahams addressed a letter to the DA on October 11, 2016 and informed the party that Jiba could also participate in discussions at his request and could not be precluded from contacting NPA employees while on special leave.
Seleka provided FUL with specific reasons for Jiba’s visits to the NPA offices.
“Deputy national directors are required to submit their financial disclosures on or before April 20 each year. Ms Jiba attended the offices of the NPA in April 2018 at the request of the national director for purposes of completing and filing her tax closures,” he wrote.
“Despite pending court proceedings and being on special leave, she is still an employee of the NPA and is not exempt from submitting the aforesaid documents.”
Abrahams granted Jiba permission to collect a personal document from the NPA offices in May, and in June she attended a meeting with Abrahams that related to a historical case of which she had institutional knowledge.
FUL acknowledged receipt of the letter in their previous statement, but said they would still follow through with their court challenge.
“This allows only two conclusions: either the NDPP and his suspended deputy have no regard or respect for the courts and the law of this land, or they are ignorant of the effect of court orders and settled law,” read the statement.
“Either way they are unfit for any public office, let alone two of the highest law-enforcement positions in the country.”
In December 2017, the court set aside Abrahams’s decision to withdraw a perjury and fraud charge against Jiba.
It also set aside former president Jacob Zuma’s decision to not institute disciplinary proceedings against Jiba and Special Director of Public Prosecutions Lawrence Mrwebi.
The charges were related to her decision to prosecute Johan Booysen, former head of the Hawks in KwaZulu-Natal, on racketeering charges.
Jiba and Mrwebi were struck off the roll of advocates. The court has since granted them leave to appeal the judgment. — News24