Dali Mpofu's bid to halt evidence flops at state capture inquiry
Advocate Dali Mpofu’s attempt to postpone the testimony of his client, former Free State head of department for human settlements Nthimotse Mokhesi, failed at the state capture commission on Friday.
Mokhesi then had to take the witness box to answer about his alleged role in a controversial multimillion-rand asbestos eradication project by the Free State government.
Mpofu tried to have Mokhesi excused, arguing that his client had a right not to incriminate himself as police were also pursuing the same project.
Commission evidence leader advocate Paul Pretorius argued against this, saying Mokhesi had not been charged by police and thus the right to remain silent did not apply to him.
“It is nothing unusual that implicated people come to testify before the commission,” said Pretorius. “Mr Mokhesi has not been arrested nor has he been charged. There is no right to remain silent.
“The right to remain silent is only applicable to an accused or arrested person in criminal proceedings.”
Mpofu differed: “He [Mokhesi] has been told police are interested in the asbestos issue and the commission is interested in the same issue. Though he is not charged, the threat to his section 35 right [to remain silent] is real.”
Inquiry chair Raymond Zondo dismissed the application and ordered that Mokhesi take the stand as he was allowed to refuse to answer those questions that he deemed to be incriminating.
In any case, Zondo added, Mokhesi had already given his version to the commission through an affidavit which was the basis for his oral evidence.
Mokhesi has since started giving evidence to the commission, sitting in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
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