The Mokgoro Inquiry into the fitness to hold office of suspended NPA senior advocates, Nomgcoba Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi, underway in Centurion, south of Pretoria, has heard damning evidence of dodgy deals that blocked probes of foreign bribes.
Special Director for Anti-Corruption Unit within the National Director of Public Prosecuting Authority (NDPP), Chris McAdam told the inquiry about the frustrations he endured in the hands of his superiors during some of his investigations.
Retired Constitutional Court Justice Yvonne Mokgoro is chairing the inquiry.
Advocate Chris McAdam testified about rampant interference and bribery involving highly experienced cops in his unit. He says some were deployed to block cases under his investigation.
McAdam told the enquiry his work as a dedicated advocate was tarnished by corrupt elements. South Africa’s arms manufacturer, Denel and Petro SA are implicated in his evidence.
“My concern was that the bribery was the most serious charge. And I stand under correction the amount involved was estimated in the region of $660 million US. So we need to focus on this serious allegations. And a lot of time being given to working with the directors, junior advocates that were made available to you and to take that to just a mere suspicion.”
McAdam has further implicated some local and international companies that he alleged interfered with the probes in order to gain multimillion rands tenders from state owned entities. He says at some stage he was ordered to abandon cases.
“Well as a result of what Advocate Johnson informed me concerning Advocate Jiba’s decision I assumed that my mandate had been terminated as of one October because it was made clear that I immediately hand over files and I was given 24hrs to do that.”
McAdam has fingered among others Advocates Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi as some of the people who interfered with his work. He said his reluctance led to some threat to have him transferred to another portfolio while in the middle of some investigation.
He responded to questions from evidence leader, Nazreen Bawa.
Adv Bawa: You were then informed by Adv Johnson that you will be transferred?
Adv McAdam: That’s corrected and at that stage I would estimate about 18 investigations.
He says the level of corruption was of an international standard, with companies as far the United Kingdom involved in the foreign bribery scandals.
“The evidence was that a British company had bribed SA government officials to obtain a contact relating to South African state owned enterprise. And again the Irag matter was not an intelligence information. But the Australian police had invited SA to go to Australia to meet with them to reveal the available evidence.”
McAdam testimony lasted for about four hours with legal representatives having to go through tens of thousands of documents containing evidence of dodgy officials meetings among others.
Nine more witnesses are yet to testify before the Mokgoro Inquiry. (SABC)
Prosecutors accused of political bias for pursuing certain cases
Jeanette Chabalala – 22 January 2019
A senior advocate told the Mokgoro commission of inquiry – which is looking into the fitness of former prosecutions bosses – that prosecutors would be accused of being politically biased whenever they pursued cases against certain politicians.
This was revealed by former senior deputy director of public prosecutions, Chris MacAdam, on Tuesday.
The commission is looking into the fitness of suspended deputy prosecutions boss Nomgcobo Jiba and former special director of public prosecutions Lawrence Mrwebi to hold office.
Inquiry chairperson Justice Yvonne Mokgoro asked MacAdam on Tuesday if he thought prosecutors were faced with political or economic pressure when they made decisions to investigate, or to permit an investigation.
“I certainly have experience of that,” he responded.
“For many years I was involved in the political violence in KwaZulu-Natal. The minute you started an investigation that targets the political party, in certain instances, the national director would tell me: ‘The leader of that party had phoned the president and told the president get rid of MacAdam and drop that investigation,'” he said.
“At another level, there would then be protest action at the court, everybody demanding that we drop the case, release the accused…”
MacAdam also said there were some instances prosecutors would be accused of being politically biased and of targeting certain politicians.
He told the inquiry he was removed from cases dealing with foreign bribery.
Then National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Shaun Abrahams reshuffled his deputies and Jiba was in charge of the Priority Crimes Litigation Unit, he said.
MacAdam testified that senior state advocate Andrea Johnson informed him that Jiba had decided that the foreign bribery cases should be transferred to the Specialist Commercial Crimes Unit.
MacAdam said he complied with the request because he assumed it was coming from Abrahams. However, he received communication from the former NDPP saying he should continue with his mandate.
He said soon after the files were taken from him, he submitted a report to Mrwebi, telling him that there was a lack of progress in the investigations of the foreign bribery cases which he had been working on.
“If we look at the report, either no investigation had been done… clearly steps could have been done to take those investigations further,” he said.
But advocate Mervyn Rip, representing Mrwebi, hit back at MacAdam and said: “Your real gripe here is that you were removed. That has concluded your entire view on this matter.”
“I deny it emphatically,” MacAdam responded
MacAdams also told the inquiry that he worked well with Jiba and he apologised to Mokgoro “if I created an impression that I was removed by advocate Jiba”.
In July last year, the Supreme Court of Appeal overturned a ruling by the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria that Jiba and Mrwebi be struck from the roll of advocates.
However, the General Council of the Bar of South Africa (GCB) later filed papers in the Constitutional Court for leave to appeal the SCA ruling.In the papers, GCB chairperson Craig Watt-Pringle SC said he believed there were “reasonable prospects of success in an appeal”.Jiba and Mrwebi are opposing the application. The matter is expected to be heard on March 14.