National 16.9.2016 10:20 pm

Jiba, Mrwebi placed on special leave

National Prosecuting Authority head, Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba during a media briefing on August 18, 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Jiba finally spoke out on the fraud and perjury charges against that were brought against by the NPA. The charges were withdrawn yesterday. (Photo by Gallo Images / Beeld / Cornel van Heerden).

National Prosecuting Authority head, Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba during a media briefing on August 18, 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Jiba finally spoke out on the fraud and perjury charges against that were brought against by the NPA. The charges were withdrawn yesterday. (Photo by Gallo Images / Beeld / Cornel van Heerden).

Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi have been placed on special leave at their request on Friday, the National Prosecuting Authority said.

“In their request to the NDPP both Advocates Jiba and Mrwebi confirmed their instructions to their legal representatives to file applications for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal against the judgment and order handed down by [Judge Francis] Legodi,” the NPA said in a statement.

“The NDPP took into consideration the integrity of the NPA, the public confidence in the NPA and the administration of justice as a whole, balanced against the integrity and reputation of Advocates Jiba and Mrwebi, along with their constitutionally entrenched rights to equal protection and benefit of the law, including their right to appeal.”

Jiba was Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions and Mrwebi was Special Director of Public Prosecutions.

On Thursday, the High Court in Pretoria ordered that Jiba and Mrwebi be struck off the roll of advocates after the General Council of the Bar applied to the court to have them struck from the roll after several adverse ruling against them.

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Handing down judgment, Legodi said Jiba and Mrwebi should have stood firm and prosecuted suspended crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli on the charges of fraud and corruption.

“I cannot believe that two officers of the court (advocates) who hold such high positions in the prosecuting authority will stoop so low for the protection and defence of one individual who had been implicated in serious offences,” the judgment read.

“In fact, taking into account the kind of personality (referring to Mdluli), Mrwebi and Jiba had to deal with, they should have stood firm and vigorous in the ground by persisting to prosecute Mdluli on fraud and corruption charges,” the judgment continued.

“By their conduct, they did not only bring the prosecuting authority and the legal profession into disrepute, but have also brought the good office of the president of the Republic of South Africa into disrepute by failing to prosecute Mdluli … It is this kind of behaviour that diminishes the image of our country and its institutions which are meant to be impartial, independent and transparent in the exercise of their legislative public powers.”

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He said Jiba and Mrwebi were assigned to deal with the surge of crimes like fraud and corruption by investigating and prosecuting them without fear, favour and prejudice.

Both Jiba and Mrwebi would appeal the ruling.

Jiba and Mrwebi have, in the past, been criticised by the Supreme Court of Appeal and by High Court judges for the decision to withdraw corruption, fraud, and murder charges against Mdluli

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