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Agrizzi, Jiba and Mrwebi to square off at Mokgoro inquiry

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Former Bosasa chief operations officer Angelo Agrizzi at the state capture inquiry. File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

Centurion – Top National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) prosecutors, advocates Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi set to face-off with former Bosasa boss Angelo Agrizzi before the Mokgoro inquiry on Friday.

Last month, Agrizzi made damning allegations against the two, claiming that the facilities management company paid them money to block any criminal investigations against Bosasa and its top management.

He made the allegations while appearing before the inquiry probing state capture and headed by the deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

Due to his testimony there, evidence leaders at the Mokgoro inquiry probing the fitness of Jiba and Mrwebi to hold office in the NPA, asked him to appear before the retired Constitutional Court Judge Yvonne Mokgoro to possibly repeat the same allegations.

He is due to appear on Friday.

Unlike at the Zondo Commission – Agrizzi was not immediately cross-examined on a series of allegations he made against Jiba, Mrwebi, former SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni and Minister of Environmental Affairs Nomvula Mokonyane.

Things will, however, be slightly different at the Mokgoro inquiry. Jiba – who has already indicated her willingness to appear before the Zondo Commission – will be legally represented when Agrizzi agrees to testify before the inquiry.

Jiba will be represented by two senior counsels, Adv Norman Arendse and Thabani Masuku with the assistance of her instructing attorney Zola Majavu to grill Agrizzi.

Agrizzi’s testimony came as the inquiry has already heard the evidence of Willie Hofmeyr – former head asset forfeiture Unit (AFU) – accusing Jiba and Mrwebi of allegedly blocked more than 80 high profile cases of corruption since 2012.

Hofmeyr said Jiba was the acting National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) while Mrwebi was head of the Special Commercial Crime Unit (SCCU) which was supposed to prosecute those 86 cases.

According to Hofmeyr – those cases included the failed prosecution of Bosasa.

He said under Jiba, the NPA had been perceived to be acting on behalf of a faction of a ruling party, such as the prosecutions of those who were opposed to the majority grouping in the ruling party at the time.

He made an example of the incumbent Public Enterprise Minister Pravin Gordhan in October 2016.

The Hawks charged Gordhan with contravention of the provisions of Sections 1, 34 and 81(2) of the Public Finance Management Act, 1 of 1999, that he was guilty of corruption in terms of Section 3, 4 and/or 10 of the Prevention of Corrupt Activities Act, 12 of 2004 as well as Section 3 of the National Strategic Intelligence Act, 39 of 1994.

The charges related to the establishment of the Sars investigative unit and the early retirement of Ivan Pillay – former Sars deputy commissioner. Gordhan was charged along with former Sars Commissioner Oupa Magashula and Pillay.

Charges were since withdrawn against but Hofmeyr, during his testimony, argued that their prosecution was factional and malicious, claiming it was at the behest of Jiba, Mrwebi and the axed former NPA boss Shaun Abrahams.

Now, Agrizzi is expected to corroborate Hofmeyr’s testimony, if he agrees, to testify on Friday.

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