Publication: Mail and Guardian Issued: Date: 2004-05-30 Reporter: Sapa

Public Protector a 'Liar' and 'Sad Case'



Mail & Guardian

Date 2004-05-30



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Director of National Public Prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka and former Justice Minister Penuell Maduna on Saturday launched a scathing attack against Public Protector Lawrence Mushwana, saying he "had no backbone and was a liar".

"Mushwana is a saddest case I have ever had to look at intellectually," Maduna told SABC television news. "I really feel sorry for him (Mushwana) because he has no backbone," added Ngcuka in the same interview.

In a report presented to Parliament on Friday, Mushwana said it was "unfair and improper" for Ngcuka to have said publicly that although Deputy President Jacob Zuma would not be prosecuted there was a prima facie case of corruption against him.

Ngcuka issued a media statement in August 2003 saying there was a prima facie case of corruption against Zuma over the multi-billion rand arms deal, but he would not prosecute him as the chances of success were not strong enough.

Following Ngcuka's statement, Zuma complained to the Public Protector about the director of public prosecutions' remark and about:

Mushwana also found that Ngcuka and Maduna had failed to cooperate with his (Mushwana's) investigation.

Maduna and Ngcuka repeatedly said the subject matter of Zuma's complaint was sub judice - a claim Mushwana dismissed. He said their refusal to cooperate was "improper and unconstitutional".

Maduna told the SABC on Saturday that Mushwana's report was "junk and a joke".

"No one who had read that would take it seriously. Parliament has been lied to by the public protector, it's as simple as that," he said.

"We (him and Ngcuka) stand together to dispute everything Mushwana said in that report."

Ngcuka added that he found it "disappointing" someone in the position of a public protector "could produce such garbage".

He said Mushwana made pronouncements when he had no access, no statement and had not consulted with witnesses from the national public prosecutions.

"Mushwana had not seen a single document we had in our possession. And yet he has the audacity to pronounce that we were wrong to say there was prima facie evidence against the deputy president."

Ngcuka said his and that of Maduna's findings were the truth.

"It (the findings) is not my opinion. It is objective facts based on evidence we have before us."

About Mushwana's findings that the two did not inform Zuma about the investigation, Maduna said the deputy president knew he was being probed.

"We told him (Zuma). We have witnesses who know we told him. I sat with the deputy president at meetings where present were...senior people in the leadership. I have expressed my own concerns about this even before the death of Govan Mbeki," Maduna said.

"What I find strange is that Mushwana doesn't come to me to say did you tell him (Zuma) in time and who are your witnesses."

Govan, President Thabo Mbeki's father, died in August in 2001.

With acknowledgements to Sapa and the Mail & Guardian.