NPA on ‘fishing expedition’ to rustle up further charges against Breytenbach

2012-07-25 12:27

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) investigators who accessed Glynnis Breytenbach’s inbox have been accused of “trawling through all her documents to see if they could rustle up further complaints” against her.

Hercules Wasserman, a senior manager at the NPA’s Integrity Management Unit, was today forced to concede that the charges against Breytenbach – which were related to her speaking to the media and earning extra money on the side – had nothing to do with the original complaint that had been laid against her by ICT.

In a blistering cross-examination, Breytenbach’s advocate Wim Trengove put it to Wasserman that they had gone on a “fishing expedition to rustle up further charges” against his client that were unrelated to the ICT complaint against her.

Wasserman insisted that the the team had a mandate to examine all Breytenbach’s emails and that they could not ignore unethical conduct when they found it.

Wasserman testified that one of his investigators had “stumbled across” some of the correspondence.

But Trengove forced Wasserman to concede that correspondence with journalists “about cat food” for charity and a personal application for car finance in which she disclosed earnings from renting out a flat and stabling horses had nothing to do with the original ICT complaint against her.

Wasserman had testified that these emails supported charges against Breytenbach for speaking to the media and earning extra income.

He had earlier testified about emails between a Beeld journalist and Breytenbach which dealt with charity for an orphanage and the SPCA, comments made by NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga on Facebook, and unrelated newspaper reports.

Trengove also put it to Wasserman that his testimony that Breytenbach had deleted evidence was “reckless and misleading”.

Wasserman conceded that a forensic report showed that Breytenbach had not deleted any information before April 30, when she was suspended.

Trengove also said that on that date a copy of the hard-drive was made in the presence of two NPA investigators and that she offered one of them a copy, but he declined it.

Trengove said Wasserman’s statement that Breytenbach “deleted evidence” was a “gross distortion” because Wasserman had no idea what had actually been deleted.

A forensic report showed only that 501 files had been deleted and that one of them was a file called “Kumba”.

This was done after Breytenbach claimed she had offered a copy of the hard drive to the NPA.
Wasserman’s cross-examination continues this afternoon.

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