Breytenbach laptop under scrutiny

2012-07-24 15:18
Glynnis Breytenbach (File, Beeld)

Glynnis Breytenbach (File, Beeld)

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Pretoria - Suspended prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach's work laptop came under the spotlight on Tuesday at her disciplinary hearing in Pretoria.

The NPA’s acting senior manager for the integrity management unit, Hercules Wasserman, said the unit was asked to investigate Breytenbach following a complaint by Mendelow Jacobs Attorneys on behalf of Imperial Crown Trading (ICT).

Breytenbach has pleaded not guilty to 16 charges brought against her by the National Prosecuting Authority, which is her employer.

Some of the charges relate to her conduct while investigating the Sishen/Kumba Iron Ore and ICT mining rights dispute.

Information deleted

The NPA alleges that Breytenbach acted impartially in favouring Sishen over ICT in her probe.

She has also been charged with gross insubordination and improper conduct for allegedly not handing over her work laptop to the NPA, and for having information on it deleted.

Wasserman told the hearing at the NPA offices in Silverton that his unit had set up a meeting with Breytenbach on February 7 this year to collect her laptop.

Her attorney Gerhard Wagenaar attended the meeting, and they agreed that Breytenbach would be allowed to make a mirror copy of her hard drive to protect her rights.

Wasserman said the attorney had said he would phone later that day to arrange to hand over the laptop, but did not do so.

Ultimatums

Wagenaar instead sent the NPA a letter in which he said they would hand over the computer only when certain conditions had been fulfilled.

"The laptop is the property of the NPA and no employee has the right to issue certain ultimatums," Wasserman said.

Breytenbach allegedly wanted more information on the charges against her and was concerned about the privacy of information on the laptop.

Other charges relate to Breytenbach bringing the NPA into disrepute by speaking to the media, either directly or via her attorney, without authorisation.

She also allegedly brought the NPA into disrepute in her Labour Court application, in which she contended that acting national director of public prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba suspended her in an attempt to protect former intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.

William Mokhari, counsel for the NPA, said she made these allegations "when you knew that in actual fact your suspension related to your conduct in the Kumba/ICT matter".

Charges against Mdluli

She is also charged with performing work outside the NPA.

Breytenbach was suspended on April 30 as regional head of the specialised commercial crime unit.

On July 18 the Johannesburg Labour Court dismissed Breytenbach's challenge against her suspension as the judge found no extraordinary or compelling, urgent circumstances to declare her suspension unlawful.

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 before being suspended again in May this year by then acting police commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi.

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 - 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.

- SAPA

Read more on:    npa  |  glynnis breytenbach  |  richard mdluli
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