Mdluli case: lawyer shot at

2012-05-01 00:00

ADVOCATE Glynnis Breytenbach was suspended on full pay when she arrived at work yesterday morning, barely two weeks after two shots were fired at her car.

Breytenbach, regional head of the specialised commercial crimes unit of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), confirmed yesterday that she had reported the shooting incident to the Hawks, but had not laid a charge with the police as she could not see who had fired the shots.

“If it was an attempt to intimidate me, they did not succeed,” said Breytenbach. DA MP Dene Smuts asked again yesterday whether Breytenbach’s suspension was not also an attempt to intimidate her because she was refusing to drop the fraud and corruption investigation against Lieutenant-General Richard Mdluli, who heads the police’s crime intelligence unit.

It has been speculated that Mdluli has been earmarked to succeed suspended General Bheki Cele as national police commissioner.

Acting NPA head advocate Nomgcobo Jiba yesterday maintained that Breytenbach was suspended pending an investigation into her alleged abuse of power in the investigation into the Kumba/Imperial Crown Trading (ICT) case.

Smuts said that on April 17 Jiba denied to the parliamentary portfolio committee that a connection existed between the steps against Breytenbach and Mdluli’s case.

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe also denied last week being aware of any political interference with, or pressure on, prosecutors, according to Smuts’s statement.

Breytenbach was asked three months ago to provide reasons why she should not be suspended.

“I was surprised by the suspension. I find it very bad that my reputation as an unimpeachable prosecutor has been jeopardised through this, but I am convinced I will prove that I am not guilty of any of the accusations,” Breytenbach said. Her legal representative, Gerhard Wagenaar, said they will not respond now regarding a possible connection between her suspension and the Mdluli case, but she will state her case when a disciplinary hearing takes place. A date has not yet been set.

NPA spokesperson Bulelwa Makeke confirmed yesterday that Breytenbach was suspended pending a disciplinary process. She said all Breytenbach’s investigations will be given to other prosecutors to handle.

Among other cases, Breytenbach is also in charge of the investigation into the financial affairs of axed ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema and his controversial Ratanang family trust, and the investigation into Cricket SA’s finances. Last year Breytenbach led the fraud investigation following a criminal charge brought against ICT by Kumba.

This came after ICT acquired the prospecting rights in Kumba’s Sishen mine, the largest iron ore mine in the country. The court found in December that ICT has no right to it. One of the allegations being investigated is that the title deeds used by ICT in its application to acquire the mineral rights may have been forged. President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane Zuma and the Gupta brothers have links with ICT.

Breytenbach was summoned by acting NPA chief Advocate Karin van Rensburg on November 25 last year after ICT’s lawyer, Ronnie Mendelow, complained about her in a letter. Van Rensburg ordered Breytenbach to hand the investigation over to another prosecutor.

The investigation was taken over by Advocate Paul Louw.

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