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Team of advocates to advise on Zuma’s spy tapes representations appointed

The deadline for the president to submit representations is midnight.

FILE: NPA head Shaun Abrahams in the Old Assembly Building in Cape Town during a briefing. Picture: EWN.

PRETORIA - Prosecutions boss Shaun Abrahams has appointed a team of five advocates to advise him on President Jacob Zuma’s representations - and whether to proceed with the criminal case against him.

The team is led by KZN DPP Moipane Noko, and includes Eastern Cape DPP Lungi Mahlati, advocate Billy Downer, advocate Raymond Mathenjwa, and Free State Regional head of the Serious Commercial Crimes Unit, Alnicia Coetzee.

The deadline for the president to submit representations is midnight.

Zuma and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) fought the so-called spy tapes case for eight years, only to concede in the Supreme Court of Appeal in September that they never had a case to begin with.

The NPA’s Luvuyo Mfaku says Abrahams has assembled a team of senior advocates from across the country.

“A team has been established led by Advocate Moipone Noko, who’s the director of public prosecutions in KwaZulu-Natal. You must recall that the matter emanates from that jurisdiction.”

Advocate Noko’s inclusion on this team may raise concerns given that she stopped the prosecution of businessman Thoshan Panday, who has links to the Zumas.

However, Abrahams has included Billy Downer in the group; he was part of the original prosecution team and objected to the decision to withdraw charges against the president.

Noko made headlines in 2014 when she withdrew charges against politically connected businessman Thoshan Panday, who had been accused of multi-million fraud and corruption and trying to bribe former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Johan Booysen.

Noko accepted claims by the accused that Booysen was part of a conspiracy to oust the then provincial commissioner so he could take up the post.

Booysen described Noko’s reasons as verbose, permeated with conjecture, innuendo and untruths.