Breytenbach: NPA official faces grilling

2012-08-13 17:40
Glynnis Breytenbach (File, Beeld)

Glynnis Breytenbach (File, Beeld)

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Johannesburg - An NPA official is expected to be cross-examined about suspended prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach's laptop when her disciplinary inquiry resumes in Pretoria on Tuesday.

Khaya Xaba, a risk specialist at the National Prosecuting Authority, testified last Monday that he handed Breytenbach a letter of suspension on 30 April.

He was supposed to collect her work laptop, keys, and access discs at the same time.

However, Xaba and Breytenbach's attorney Gerhard Wagenaar disagreed about the handing over of the laptop.

Xaba allowed Breytenbach to keep the laptop so her IT specialist could delete files she claimed were of a personal nature from its hard drive. The laptop was handed to the NPA two days later.

Among the charges Breytenbach faces are gross insubordination and improper conduct, for allegedly not handing her work laptop to the NPA, and for having information on it deleted.

Breytenbach argued she did not hand over the computer because of fears about an invasion of her privacy and because she had not been given any information about the charges against her.

She argued that the deleted information had always been available on the NPA's server.

Breytenbach, who was suspended as regional head of the specialised commercial crime unit, has pleaded not guilty to 16 charges brought against her by the NPA, at the hearing at its offices in Silverton.

The NPA said it suspended Breytenbach for failing to act impartially in her investigation of a dispute between Imperial Crown Trading (ICT) and Sishen/Kumba Iron Ore over mining rights.

However, Breytenbach argued that acting National Director of Public Prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba suspended her in an attempt to stop her from prosecuting former police crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli on fraud and other charges.

Last year, Mdluli faced a raft of fraud and corruption charges relating to the alleged misuse of a secret crime intelligence fund to buy luxury vehicles. He also faced a charge of murder relating to the death of an ex-lover's husband.

These charges led to his initial suspension, but they were withdrawn and he was reinstated in December before being suspended again in May this year.

Mdluli appealed against his suspension in the Johannesburg Labour Court, but it decided that he should remain suspended until he had also filed an application for leave to appeal an interim order -- which was granted by the High Court in Pretoria on June 6, to Freedom Under Law -- that he be suspended and not be allowed to do police work.

Breytenbach is charged with bringing the NPA into disrepute by speaking to the media, either directly or via her attorney, without authorisation.

Another charge she faces is that of performing work outside the NPA, for allegedly renting out a flat and running a horse stabling business.

In an application for car finance in 2009, Breytenbach listed under "other income" that she earned R4000 a month for renting out a flat and stabling a horse.

Her counsel Wim Trengove SC pointed out in cross-examination that renting out a flat did not amount to performing remunerative work.

Breytenbach had stabled a horse for a friend's child which had cost her R2 500 a month, although the friend could only contribute R1000 towards this, he said.

Trengove called the reading of the car finance e-mail an abuse of Breytenbach's constitutional right to privacy of her communication, and accused the NPA of trawling through her e-mails to "rustle up" charges.

Trengove contended that Breytenbach had not been informed of the charges against her and was not given a chance to defend them before she was suspended.

Hercules Wasserman, acting senior manager of the NPA's integrity management unit, admitted under cross-examination that the first time Breytenbach received partial details of the allegations against her was on 18 April.

He admitted Breytenbach was not told of the full case against her.

Jiba made the decision to suspend her on 23 April, despite the fact that Wasserman had given Breytenbach until 25 April to respond to the allegations.

Her disciplinary resumes on Tuesday at 10:00.

Read more on:    npa  |  nomgcobo jiba  |  glynnis breytenbach  |  richard mdluli

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