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‘I feel like an accused person’ – Mrwebi cries foul about Mokgoro inquiry

Suspended special director of public prosecutions Adv Lawrence Mrwebi testifies during the Mokgoro inquiry in Centurion on February 20 2019. The inquiry which is led by retired justice of the Constitutional Court Yvonne Mokgoro will investigate NPA's Nomgcobo Jiba and Mrwebi's fitness to hold office. (Photo by Gallo Images / Phill Magakoe)

Suspended special director of public prosecutions Lawrence Mrwebi has complained that the Mokgoro inquiry is "extremely unfair" and that he feels like an accused person.

“I don’t blame anybody, I blame the process itself. It makes my life extremely difficult to prepare for this inquiry. That was a serious dilemma for me,” he told inquiry chair, retired Constitutional Court Judge Yvonne Mokgoro, on Friday.

Mrwebi is currently facing cross-examination at the inquiry.

He has maintained that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to continue with former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli’s corruption matter.

Mdluli faced charges of fraud, theft and corruption for allegedly pillaging the crime intelligence unit’s slush fund.

“Besides being told, ‘You are unfit to hold office,’ I was not told the basis of the allegations. I feel like I’m an accused person,” he said.

Evidence

Mrwebi asked how he should respond to questions when the evidence that was supposed to be in front of the inquiry was not available.

“The only time I came to know, is when witnesses are called to the stand to implicate me. It is at that point when I had to run like a headless chicken looking for evidence. You simply do not know what to expect; what to prepare for. I’m like somebody who is engaged in a fight, but one of your hands is tied behind your back,” he said.

Mrwebi told the inquiry that the impression created was that seven people wanted the Mdluli matter to continue and that he was the only person who wanted to withdraw the charges.

During his testimony on Wednesday, Mrwebi told the inquiry that he had no reason to favour Mdluli.

“Bring the evidence. Let’s apply the law,” he said.

Mrwebi said that when he took his decision to withdraw the charges, he had received representations from Mdluli’s lawyers. He then asked the prosecutors for a report and the docket.

He said one of the “immediate things” he noticed when reading through the docket was that transactions relating to the purchase of Mdluli’s BMW were not done by him.  “There was no evidence linking Mdluli directly to the transactions and no evidence to say Mdluli knew about transactions,” he said. DM

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