South Africa 23.7.2015 11:00 am

Zuma urged to suspend 3 NPA bosses

President Jacob Zuma delivers an address. (File photo: GCIS)

President Jacob Zuma delivers an address. (File photo: GCIS)

Rights group Accountability Now wants President Jacob Zuma to suspend three senior prosecutors of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) pending an inquiry into their fitness to hold office, or face legal action.

The disgraced prosecutors are advocates Nomgcobo Jiba, Lawrence Mrwebi and Sibongile Mzinyathi.

The group substantiated its assertions through the decisions of the North Gauteng High Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal in the review application related to the decisions not to proceed with the prosecution of, and disciplinary proceedings against former crime intelligence head, Richard Mduli. It said both courts were “scathing in their criticism” of the conduct of the three prosecutors. The application was brought by a lobby group Freedom Under Law.

Jiba is a national deputy head of the NPA while Mrwebi is the head of special commercialised crimes unit. Mzinyathi is a provincial director of public prosecutions in Pretoria.

In a letter dated July 22, and signed by its director advocate Paul Hoffman SC, Accountability Now argues that former NPA head (Mxolisi Nxasana) had requested Zuma both directly and via justice Minister Michael Masutha to take action against the trio in terms of his (Zuma) powers under section 12(6) of the National Prosecuting Authority Act 32 of 1998. The letter was copied and sent to Masutha as well.

“In the light of the above facts, there is, clearly we suggest, a substantial doubt as to the fitness for office of these three persons,” read the letter in part.

“We therefore request you to act appropriately on the judgments and reports referred to above. Furthermore, given the gravity of the complaints, we would suggest that there is little doubt that these persons should be suspended from their positions pending the outcome of an enquiry in terms of section 12(6) of the Act, unless you are able to furnish us with an acceptable explanation for your failure to do so.”

The group said if it did not hear from Zuma by August 6, its rights were reserved to institute legal proceedings against him to compel him to ensure the country “has the national prosecuting authority that exercises its functions without fear, favour or prejudice” – as required by section 179(4) of the constitution.

A call by Accountability Now on Zuma to suspend the three prosecutors came two days after it laid charges against him for paying Nxasana what was thought to be R17.3 “settlement” when he resigned in May.

NPA spokesperson Advocate Luvuyo Mfaku said he would comment after receiving a written enquiry and a copy of the letter sent to Zuma.

– warren@citizen.co.za

 

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