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By Citizen Reporter

Journalist


Mkhwebane paid legal advisor R87 000 to criticise her opponents

Paul Ngobeni was also paid R96 000 to provide legal opinion on Mkhwebane's investigation into Ramaphosa's CR17 campaign.


The Public Protector’s office allegedly paid a legal advisor R87 000 to write opinion pieces denouncing those who were critical of Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

This was revealed by Public Protector Legal Services manager Thembinkosi Sithole on Friday during the parliamentary inquiry into Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office.

Sithole said Mkhwebane’s office paid Paul Ngobeni large sums to write articles published in the “Africa News 24” website, which is no longer operational.

According to a report in News24, the R87 000 went towards articles that admonished those who were critical of Mkhwebane, such as former Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, former State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo and former Minister of State Security Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba.

Ngobeni was also paid R96 000 to provide legal opinion on Mkhwebane’s investigation into President Cyril Ramaphosa’s CR17 campaign.

This investigation was later invalidated in court.

Fugitive from justice

Ngobeni, in 2007, went on the run from US law enforcement after being charged with larceny, forgery and practising while not an attorney. He was also disbarred in some US states.

Ngobeni was also a supporter of former president Jacob Zuma.

He also allegedly advised Mkhwebane to sue the government for providing “insufficient funding” to her office. This while he was being paid large sums by the same office for his legal advice.

ALSO READ: Mkhwebane impeachment hearing: Public protector’s shady spy interviews

Legal advice

Advocate Nazreen Bawa, an evidence leader in the hearing, questioned whether the articles Ngobeni wrote could be considered legal advice.

“Would you agree with me that this looks like invoices rendered for purposes of producing articles?” Bawa asked Sithole.

“To my recollection, advocate Ngobeni rendered opinions. Legal opinions, that is,” Sithole replied.

Bawa then questioned why Ngobeni’s invoices referred to articles that were published. “That is not an opinion, that is something that was published on AfricaNews24”. 

The impeachment hearing is set to continue on Thursday.

NOW READ: Disciplinary steps under Mkhwebane ‘were selective’, parly hears

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