Attempts to block the testimony of the head of the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) Asset Forfeiture Unit, Advocate Willie Hofmeyr at the Mokgoro Enquiry in Pretoria have failed.
The lawyers representing Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi initially argued that Hofmeyr’s evidence, which touches on the knowledge of former NDPP head Shaun Abrahams about the ongoing controversy around the two, could prejudice their clients.
The head of the NPA’s Asset Forfeiture Unit, Willie Hofmeyr, has told the enquiry about increasing political interference by Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba in the work of the prosecution.
Hofmeyr gave an example of an incident where renowned prosecutor, Gerrie Nel, was arrested some years ago.
Nel was at the time working on a fraud case involving Jiba’s husband, Booker Nhantsi, who is a legal practitioner.
“The other angle that happens at the time is that advocate Jiba’s husband is convicted of fraud on his trust account, but it seems that she had a bit of grudge against Nel at the time. It’s always been clear to me that advocate Jiba had a score to settle with Nel. Jiba had consistently talked about the fact that they are working on something and it will happen soon. She mentioned that it relates to advocate Nel. She mentioned meetings with people held from the presidency, the Department of Justice, and members of SAPS. Meetings were held even late at night,” says Hofmeyr.
Hofmeyr further testified that this was done to sabotage the prosecution of political figures. He testified that interference also prevailed during the period when Jackie Selebi was prosecuted.
The late former police commissioner was convicted for fraud and corruption in December 2010.
Hofmeyr responded to cross-examination by Jiba’s lawyer, Norman Arendse.
Arendse: “You highlighted this as the one aspect of her career in the office of the NPA that raises, for you, serious doubt about her ability to lead that office. You can tell me if I’ve unfairly summarised your evidence in that regard.
Hofmeyr: : “I think that the context in which this happens matters a lot. Mr Pikoli’s just been suspended for authorising the investigation into Selebi. The NPA was under heavy attack including the prosecuting team of all sort of rumour and bad things said about them.”
On the other hand, Judge Mokgoro ruled that former NPA head, Shaun Abrahams, be invited to make submissions before the enquiry. This is to afford him the opportunity to respond to concerns raised by Jiba and Mrwebi’s lawyers, regarding some of the evidence presented by Hofmeyr.
The enquiry is probing Jiba and Mrwebi’s fitness to hold office. They’re accused of maladministration and mishandling of high profile cases. More witnesses are expected to testify.
Watch a related video below: