South Africa’s Ramaphosa Fires Top Prosecutors Linked to Graft

(Bloomberg) -- South African President Cyril Ramaphosa fired two senior prosecutors who were implicated in taking bribes in his latest move to restore the integrity of the National Prosecuting Authority that was badly damaged during his predecessor Jacob Zuma’s rule.

Ramaphosa took the decision to fire Nomgcobo Jiba, who served as deputy national director of public prosecutions, and Lawrence Mrwebi, the special director of public prosecutions, after studying the findings of a commission of inquiry. The decision could help repair public and investor confidence in Africa’s most-industrialized economy, and follows the appointment of new leaders of state institutions linked to mismanagement, including the NPA and the nation’s tax agency.

“The inquiry has found that both officials are not fit and proper to hold their respective offices,” Ramaphosa’s office said in an emailed statement.

In January, Angelo Agrizzi, the former chief operating officer of services company Bosasa, told another judicial probe that the company has paid bribes to the two prosecutors to help it evade graft charges and secure confidential information. Jiba received a monthly payoff of 100,000 rand ($6,940), while Mrwebi was paid 10,000 rand, Agrizzi said. The officials denied the allegations.

Ramaphosa, 66, was appointed president 14 months ago when the ruling party forced Zuma to step down after a tenure that was marred by repeated corruption scandals, inappropriate appointments and policy missteps.

In December, he named Shamila Batohi, a former legal adviser at the Hague-based International Criminal Court, as the chief prosecutor -- an appointment that was widely hailed a first step toward rebuilding the NPA and holding officials implicated in looting state funds during Zuma’s tenure to account.

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