Publication: Cape Argus Issued: Date: 2004-05-28 Reporter: Angela Quintal

Ngcuka Guilty of Violating Zuma's Rights



Cape Argus

Date 2004-05-28


Angela Quintal

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National Prosecuting Authority head Bulelani Ngcuka has violated Deputy President Jacob Zuma's constitutional rights and prejudiced him, says the Public Protector's office.

These are the findings of Public Protector Lawrence Mushwana on a complaint by Zuma that Ngcuka had abused his office in a Scorpions' investigation into alleged corruption by the deputy president.

Mushwana, who handed his report to National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete on Friday morning, has recommended that parliament take urgent steps against Ngcuka and his prosecuting authority and hold them accountable for:

Failing to co-operate with the Public Protector in the investigation of Zuma's complaint.

Infringing on Zuma's constitutional right to human dignity and causing him to be improperly prejudiced.

Acting in an unfair and improper manner in regard to Zuma.

Mushwana wants the cabinet to ensure the ministerial co-coordinating committee contemplated by the National Prosecuting Authority is convened as a matter of urgency to determine policy guidelines on how the Scorpions should function.

The legislation says the committee should consist of at least five cabinet members.

Mushwana said that during the investigation, his office had relied on Ngcuka and former justice minister Penuell Maduna.

They had been approached on several occasions to provide information and replies to Zuma's complaints.

"Apart from repeatedly stating that the matters that Mr Zuma complained about were sub judice and therefore beyond investigation by the Public Protector, they failed to provide any assistance."

Mushwana said his investigation had been conducted in a manner that did not interfere with the performance of the powers and functions of the prosecuting authority.

While parliament should look into why Ngcuka failed to co-operate, "it would serve no purpose to make any recommendations in regard to Maduna's improper failure" as he was no longer a cabinet minister, Mushwana said.

Both Ngcuka and Maduna had been constitutionally obliged to co-operate with the Public Protector in the investigation of the complaints, Mushwana said.

Their failure to do so "had resulted in the public protector having to conclude the investigation without the benefit of proper responses by those implicated by the complaints of the deputy president".

Mushwana found that a press statement by Ngcuka in Johannesburg on August in 2003, that there was a prima facie case of corruption against Zuma, but he would not be prosecuted, "unjustifiably infringed upon Mr Zuma's constitutional right to human dignity and caused him to be improperly prejudiced".

The statement was unfair and improper.

Mushwana found Ngcuka "had probably not informed" Zuma of the criminal investigation again him soon after it started as claimed.

This included an internal investigation that found that Ngcuka had not been party to the leaks.

However, there was strong circumstantial evidence that privileged information in the possession of the prosecuting authority found its way to unauthorised persons outside its structures".

With acknowledgements to Angela Quintal and the Cape Argus.