Advocates shocked at action against prosecutor

2012-02-06 12:33
Johannesburg - Former National Director of Public Prosecutions Vusi Pikoli and other senior advocates have expressed shock at the disciplinary action against prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach, according to a report on Monday.

"The disciplinary investigation against her is a huge shock and a surprise," Pikoli told Beeld newspaper, adding that he knew her as a fearless, dedicated and extremely competent prosecutor.

Breytenbach had found herself at the centre of controversy since last week, when the National Prosecuting Authority notified her she had to provide the organisation with reasons by Tuesday why she should not be suspended.

She is alleged to have abused her power in the investigation into a fraud charge laid by iron ore mining company Kumba against Imperial Crown Trading.

The NPA has denied a link between the possible suspension of Breytenbach, deputy director of the specialised commercial crimes unit in Gauteng, and the dropping of charges against suspended crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.

‘Lack of competence in the NPA’

Advocate Jan Henning, NPA former deputy director, described the action against her as a low point in the body's history.

"If the motives for the actions against her are less than pure, the process has to be halted, for the sake of the justice system, the morale of prosecutors and the image of the NPA," he told Beeld.

According to another former NPA deputy head, Jan D'Oliveira, Breytenbach was an experienced prosecutor who would never undermine the Constitution.

"There is a total lack of competence in the NPA, where decisions are being made by people occupying senior posts, who actually have no experience prosecuting cases from the lowest to the highest courts, or giving guidance to subordinates," he was quoted as saying by Beeld.

The NPA stated last week it regarded the investigation against Breytenbach as an internal issue.

NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said they would not entertain questions about reports that Breytenbach was told to stop work on the fraud investigation involving Imperial Crown Trading's allegedly falsifying a prospecting licence.

It was reported last week that Breytenbach carried on with the investigation regardless of the order.

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