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Shaun Abrahams and Nomgcobo Jiba to be sued for contempt of court

02 July 2018 - 06:49 By Karyn Maughan
Shaun Abrahams. File photo.
Shaun Abrahams. File photo.
Image: GIANLUIGI GUERCIA / AFP

Freedom Under Law says it will pursue contempt of court litigation against prosecutions boss Shaun Abrahams – for allegedly defying a court ruling against his deputy Nomgcobo Jiba.

Freedom Under Law (FUL) claims Abrahams and Jiba either deliberately ignored a court order that blocked the former acting prosecutions head from entering the National Prosecuting Authority’s offices‚ or “they are ignorant of the effect of court orders and settled law”.

“Either way they are unfit for any public office‚ let alone two of the highest law-enforcement positions in the country‚” says FUL’s Nicole Fritz.

But the National Prosecuting Authority insists that Abrahams has done nothing wrong‚ because the order that FUL is basing its contempt of court claims on is currently the subject of an appeal. It also maintains that Jiba was not in the office to perform any official functions.

Jiba was struck from the roll of advocates by the North Gauteng High Court in September 2016‚ after the court found that she was not fit and proper for the position. She had come under fire over her irrational decision to drop charges against crime intelligence head and self-proclaimed Jacob Zuma loyalist Richard Mdluli‚ a decision which was subsequently overturned in court.

“Jiba … flouted every rule in the fight against crime. Her failure to intervene when she was required to do so has failed the citizens of this country and in the process‚ brought the image of the legal profession and prosecuting authority into disrepute‚” Judge Frans Legodi ruled.

According to Fritz‚ the High Court then ordered in December last year that “pending the finalisation of her appeal‚ [Jiba] be prohibited from entering the offices of the National Prosecuting Authority or performing any functions relating to her position in the NPA”.

“Recently Freedom Under Law received alarming reports to the effect that this important part of the court's order had been breached on several occasions‚” Fritz said.

“Late on Friday‚ FUL's attorneys received a letter from the state attorney not only conceding the correctness of the information but indicating that the national director of Public Prosecutions‚ Shaun Abrahams‚ himself was aware of her visits but sought to justify it on an alarming misunderstanding of the judgment and the applicable law.”

In that letter – seen by TimesLive – the NPA admits that “Jiba was at the NPA offices on a day each during April and June 2018 at the request of the national director‚ and on a day in May 2018 with the permission of the national director”.

“Deputy national directors are required to submit their financial disclosures on or before April 30 each year. Jiba attended the offices of the NPA in April 2018 at the request of the national director (Abrahams) for purposes of completing and filing her financial disclosures. Despite pending court proceedings and being on special leave she is still an employee of the NPA and is not exempt from submitting the aforesaid documents.

“During May 2018‚ the national director granted Jiba permission to attend the NPA offices to collect a personal document she required‚ which was in her office. During June 2018‚ Jiba attended a meeting with the national director relating to a historical case of which she had institutional knowledge and which information the national director required.”

The NPA further maintains that‚ because the December 2017 ruling prohibiting Jiba from going to its office is being appealed‚ neither she nor Abrahams have acted in contempt of court.

FUL nevertheless maintains it will pursue contempt of court applications against the pair in the coming days.

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