NPA threatens former boss for representing Brian Molefe

The NPA has threatened to report its former boss, Advocate Shaun Abrahams, to the Legal Practice Council (LPC) if he does not withdraw as one of the lawyers representing ex-Transnet chief executive Brian Molefe in his corruption case.

The NPA claims Abrahams, who is now practising as a criminal lawyer, is conflicted because of information he accessed when he was still the National Director of Public Prosecutions.

Parties involved in the Molefe case from inside and outside the NPA labelled the move as “dirty tactics” by the prosecuting authority to nail Molefe by hook or by crook.

“How can they say the man is conflicted because of information that was available to him when he was still the NDPP and the NPA is not coming forth about what information it is that they are talking about?” asked an insider with intricate details of the case in question.

“What makes the matter more suspicious is that the docket was opened in 2019 and Shaun (Abrahams) left the NPA in 2018. Instead of telling him how he is conflicted, they are threatening to unleash the LPC on him.”

Our informants said the threat to report Abrahams to the LPC was the NPA’s ace card because many legal professionals did not want to find themselves facing the regulatory body, even if they have nothing to hide.

“They know that once they are threatened with the LPC, it becomes a professional problem because even if the LPC does not make a finding or Shaun
wins at the end, the fact that he will be there for a while will dent his professional integrity,” said a deepthroat close to the case.

“So, this is nothing but dirty tactics by the NPA to frustrate Brian’s defence.

“It may eventually result in a mistrial because Brian has a right to a legal defence of his own choice. If the NPA is genuine, they must state why Shaun should not be part of the defence and provide sound, legal reasons with evidence of the conflict they are alleging.

“Abrahams is vehemently denying that he has information relating to Molefe that prohibits him from representing the man.

“They cannot just say he is conflicted; they must say this is the information that was given to him when he was within NPA ranks.”

The NPA’s Independent Directorate (ID) spokesperson, Sindi Seboka, said the state does not discuss ongoing cases.

But any talk of foul play in the Molefe case in relation to Abrahams representing him was rejected with contempt, she said.

“As a matter of principle, the ID does not engage the media on a matter that is the subject of engagement with the legal representatives of an accused person, especially one pending before court.

“In doing so, we endeavour to maintain a level of respect and collegiality with legal practitioners in line with the acceptable ethical standards befitting the legal profession. However, we deny the allegations of wrongdoing in our handling of Mr Molefe’s case. We are on course in ensuring that we execute our mandate and will not be deterred by any negative narrative that seeks to derail us,” Seboka said.

Molefe was arrested in 2022, alongside former Transnet finance boss Anoj Singh and others accused of being involved in fraud and corruption amounting to R93-million in relation to the procurement of the 1 064 locomotives. The case was heard in the Specialised Commercial Court sitting in Palm Ridge last month and will be transferred to the high court on March 25.

Molefe’s lawyer Mpho Molefe confirmed NPA’s maneuvers while Abarahams refused to comment.

Sunday World can reveal this is not the first time the NPA has moved to have Abrahams removed from a state capture-related court case.

Abrahams was part of the legal team of Thabo Mokwena in the Eskom/Kusile matter that was thrown out of court last year, which included the likes of Matshela Koko as accused. The NPA said he was conflicted because he had access to the case when he was still its boss.

However, when Abrahams asked them what information that was, the NPA disappeared with the wind until now in Molefe’s case, making a comeback with the LPC threat.

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