21 February 2019

South Africa: 'I Was Amazed and Hurt When NPA Charged Me,' Jiba Tells Mokgoro Inquiry

Suspended deputy national director of public prosecution Nomgcobo Jiba has told the Mokgoro nquiry that she was "amazed" and "hurt" when she was charged with fraud and perjury for her decision to prosecute former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Major General Johan Booysen.

"I have never felt so betrayed by my own institution in my entire life when I was paraded before a court as a criminal, merely for exercising a discretion," she told the chairperson of the inquiry, retired Constitutional Court Judge Yvonne Mokgoro, on Thursday.

This is the first time Jiba has taken the stand to respond to allegations against her.

The inquiry is looking into her fitness to hold office, as well as that of special director of public prosecutions Lawrence Mrwebi.

Jiba told the inquiry that the NPA had turned the tables on her and decided to charge her for doing her job.

"People were killed in circumstances where they posed no danger at all. Some of them were killed in front of their wives," she said about the Booysen matter which is currently before the courts.

She told the inquiry that there was nothing unlawful about the decision she took in issuing the racketeering charges against Booysen and others.

She said the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) had asked her to assist because the case was not moving.

"IPID was assigned to investigate the conduct of police officers in Cato Manor in KZN," she said.

Racketeering charges

The Booysen matter had been postponed to October 4, 2019, she told the inquiry, adding that she hoped the trial would start on that day.

In August 2015, former National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams withdrew charges of perjury and fraud against Jiba.

The charges related to her decision to prosecute Booysen for racketeering.

However, in 2017, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria set aside the decision to withdraw the charges.

The NPA withdrew its application for leave to appeal the High Court ruling that set aside Abrahams' decision.

Jiba said she was informed that the North West Director of Public Prosecutions had declined to prosecute her again, but that she had not received anything formal from the office of the national director.

In August 2112, Booysen was charged with managing and participating an "enterprise" through a pattern of racketeering activity, News24 previously reported.

Apart from the racketeering charges, Booysen was accused of two murders, the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition, and defeating or obstructing the course of justice.

'No evidence against General Booysen'

During his testimony earlier this month before the inquiry, Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions Willie Hofmeyr said "normal" criteria were not met when Jiba decided to charge Booysen with racketeering.

Hofmeyr said, in terms of the normal process, one would expect the prosecution team to make representations to an organised desk panel and to be interrogated on it. This would be to show exactly how each person was linked to the evidence, and to substantiate it.

The inquiry previously heard testimony from senior state prosecutor Jan Ferreira, who said Jiba was under pressure to prosecute Booysen, despite not having evidence against him.

Ferreira said that, when he wrote his legal opinion, which was given to Abrahams, there was "no evidence against General Booysen".

"It was quite clear because of the fact that you would not find Booysen on any of the scenes during the shooting," he said at the time.

Source: News24

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