Is Mdluli receiving preferential treatment?

2012-06-08 00:00

LIEUTENANT-GENERAL Richard Mdluli appears to be receiving preferential treatment because of who he is and who he knows, says advocate Glynnis Breytenbach.

In her highly confidential memorandum to the acting National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head, advocate Nomgcobo Jiba, the suspended regional head of the specialised commercial crime unit said this was the impression being created.

The memorandum formed part of court papers of about 400 pages Breytenbach submitted to the labour court in Johannesburg, in which she asked for her suspension to be set aside.

Breytenbach said it was unclear why Mdluli and Colonel Heine Barnard, his co-accused in the fraud and corruption case, were not being treated like any other member of the police suspected of such offences.

Advocate Lawrence Mrwebi, head of the specialised commercial crime unit, decided to withdraw the charges, even though advocate Sibongile Mzinyathi, the director of public prosecution in Pretoria, thought there was a prima facie case.

Breytenbach said that in his own interests Mrwebi should not have become involved in decisions about Mdluli. Mrwebi and Mdluli were both involved with the prosecution of former police chief Jackie Selebi. Mrwebi testified for Selebi against the state.

Breytenbach said she was not alleging that he (Mrwebi) was prejudiced or being influenced, but that there certainly could be “a perception” that that was the case. She said this had a negative effect on the image of the NPA and on the integrity of the process.

Nor could she help questioning Mrwebi’s timing, she said.

He withdrew charges only days after the head of the NPA, advocate Menzi Simelane, was placed on compulsory leave after the Democratic Alliance had fought his appointment in court.

Breytenbach said she believes Mrwebi’s decision to be unlawful and wrong.

She said the execution of any decision should be “fair, transparent and well-motivated”, which was decidedly not the case with Mrwebi’s decision, because it was not based on the merits of the case against Mdluli.

According to the memorandum, other extremely serious allegations against Mdluli came to light which do not form part of the existing police file, but which have to be properly investigated.

“The case has brought the NPA into disrepute and continues to do so,” says Breytenbach.

According to Breytenbach this was not the first time in the NPA’s 12-year existence that an accused like Mdluli had claimed that the prosecuting team was conspiring against him. She said senior NPA management should be particularly alert and not tolerate such claims without proper proof that the prosecuting team had done something wrong.

The NPA has refused to comment on the content of Breytenbach’s memorandum.

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