Cassim inquiry into prosecutions boss called off

11 May 2015 - 11:41 By RDM News Wire

The probe into the fitness of Mxolisi Nxasana to hold office as the national director of public prosecutions‚ which was due to start on Monday‚ is off. Advocate Nazeer Cassim SC reportedly told media that the Presidency instructed him on Sunday night to not go ahead.The inquiry‚ put on ice for six months after it was first announced in July last year‚ was revived in February by President Jacob Zuma.Nxasana has continued in office with a cloud over his head since June last year‚ when the government first raised concern about his past brushes with the law‚ which include being tried for murder in 1985 - he was acquitted.In April‚ there was some uncertainty about the inquiry going ahead as there was procedural uncertainty on whether submissions comprehensively setting out the case against him‚ Business Day reported.After an initial meeting among all the parties‚ it was expected the details of the complaint against Nxasana would be set out in comprehensive submissions — either by the president‚ or by the justice minister on the president’s behalf‚ the paper added.But Nxasana’s legal representative said he had received no submissions from the justice president or the minister.On Sunday‚ the Congress of the People (COPE) asked why the president appeared to be singling out Nxasana?“Cope wants to know why was Nxasana appointed in the first place? Did the president’s advisers mislead him?” asked Cope spokesman Dennis Bloem.“Another serious question is now at the fore: Is there a weakness in the (State Security Agency) vetting process? How did someone who needed top security clearance for appointment succeed without the necessary clearance?“Why is the president singling out Nxasana?”COPE also raised questions over why Nxasana’s deputy Nomgcobo Jiba “remains unaffected even though the Supreme Court of Appeal found her unfit for office”.Bloem also cited the example of a KwaZulu-Natal high court branding her “dishonest” as well her being the subject of an inquiry by the Pretoria Bar Council.aJiba made an appearance on charges of fraud and perjury in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court last month.The case was postponed until June 10 for documentary evidence to be disclosed.The charges relate to the failed attempt to prosecute KwaZulu-Natal Hawks head Major-General Johan Booysen on charges including racketeering.The National Prosecuting Authority decided to charge Jiba last year after the High Court in Durban set aside her decision to charge Booysen‚ finding that there was no material on which to rationally authorise the prosecution.The inquiry was to be chaired by Cassim‚ assisted by advocates Lindi Nkosi-Thomas SC and Sthembiso Mdladla.Presidency to provide Cassim Inquiry closure reasons this week - Ernest MabuzaThe Cassim Inquiry to probe the fitness of National Director of Public Prosecutions Mxolisi Nxasana to hold office has been cancelled.The chairman of the inquiry‚ Advocate Nazeer Cassim‚ said on Monday morning that he was contacted by the Presidency on Sunday night and he was "instructed" not to continue with the commission."The words that were said to me was to 'cease the inquiry'. My mandate has been terminated."I am sorry to have brought you here this morning‚" Cassim said.Cassim said he could not shed any light on why he had been asked not to continue the commission.Inquiry spokesman Andile Tshona confirmed in a statement that the inquiry has been called off by the Presidency."The Presidency will clarify its decision during the course of the week‚" Tshona said.Busani Mabunda Nxasana's attorney said his client would wait for the president to make a statement regarding the issue before he commented."It would be inappropriate to make any comment until the president has made a statement‚" Mabunda said.The inquiry was first announced in July last year after the government raised concern over Nxasana's brushes with the law in the past. This included being tried for and acquitted of murder in 1985 and being convicted of assault twice.The inquiry‚ which included advocates Lindi Nkosi-Thomas and Sthembiso Mdladla as additional members‚ was also tasked to look into whether Nxasana made media statements that could undermine or bring his office or the National Prosecuting Authority into disrepute.Nxasana was appointed as national director of public prosecutions in August 2013. - TMG Courts and Law

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