NPA head defends Jiba decision

But a group says Shaun Abrahams failed to provide details behind the decision to drop the case.

FILE: Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The decision to withdraw fraud and perjury charges against Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba is rational and in-line with the law, National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Advocate Shaun Abrahams said on Tuesday.

His comments come after announcing his decision not to proceed with the case against his deputy, which was due to start on Wednesday.

Jiba was accused by former NPA head Mxolisi Nxasana of not telling the truth while deciding to charge KwaZulu-Natal Hawks head Johan Booysen.

But Abrahams's decision was criticised after the Supreme Court of Appeal twice said Jiba's conduct in cases before it was unprofessional.

The newly-appointed NPA head said Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit head Advocate Marshall Mokgatle recommended the charges be dropped.

"I received Advocate Mokgatle's decision and opinion in which he decided to decline to prosecute Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba on charges of perjury and fraud."

Abraham quoted from a memo prepared by Mokgatle that the law absolves Jiba of wrongdoing in this case.

"The aforementioned provisions clearly absolve Miss Jiba from any liability, including criminal prosecution," the NPA boss added.

"There are no prospects of a successful prosecution and I accordingly, declined to prosecute advocate Jiba."

He adds he's only following the recommendation of one of his subordinates in withdrawing charges.

EXPLANATION NEEDED

The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution's Lawson Naidoo says Abrahams needs to properly explain the decision.

"Abrahams did not provide any details behind that decision that has been taken. Advocate Jiba had in fact made written representations to the NPA for the matter to be dropped."

Naidoo says when Abrahams took over the NPA, he promised to be fully transparent.

"He put the bar quite high in terms of his commitment to professionalism within the NPA… He has singularly failed to meet those expectations."

The General Council of the Bar has applied to a court to strike Jiba's name from the roll of advocates, which may mean she will no longer be considered fit and proper for her role.

Jiba has also been accused of protecting former police crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli.