Breytenbach's impartiality questioned

2012-08-15 22:39
Glynnis Breytenbach (Beeld)

Glynnis Breytenbach (Beeld)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pretoria - Prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach "turned a blind eye" in investigating a mineral rights dispute, a witness told her disciplinary hearing on Wednesday.

"This was an absolute turning of a blind eye to anything ICT [Imperial Crown Trading] had to say," Ronald Mendelow said.

Mendelow, who is the lawyer for ICT, was testifying for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), at its offices in Silverton, Pretoria.

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

"[Breytenbach] shows no interest at all in the progress of that investigation... which is really part-and-parcel of the same investigation," Mendelow said.

Breytenbach denied this.

The investigation she allegedly ignored involved a complaint made by the department of mineral resources (DMR) against Sishen.

The DMR accused Sishen of fraud in how it submitted an application for mineral rights.

Instead, Breytenbach focused only on investigating Sishen's complaint that ICT had forged a title deed in its application for prospecting rights, Mendelow said.

"This was clearly a one-sided investigation intent only on nailing ICT."

Mendelow said he had visited the Hawks officer investigating the DMR complaint in February this year and found only one affidavit in the file. Mendelow said the officer told him no prosecutor had contacted him to give him instructions.

The DMR complaint had "been left in the dark to mould".

He said Breytenbach should have taken responsibility for the DMR case, as it was the flipside of the Sishen case.

This led to arguments about whether Breytenbach should allocate herself cases, or whether she should only take on a case after being approached by investigating officers.

Breytenbach's counsel Wim Trengove said: "There is no basis in the evidence for an assertion that she should have assumed responsibility for the complaint that the police didn't bring to her."

He later added: "The DMR case never landed on her desk."

According to an affidavit by Breytenbach, the DMR investigation was allocated to another prosecutor.

Standard practice

Earlier in the day, Mendelow said Breytenbach had worked too closely with Sishen's lawyer Mike Hellens.

"The legal representatives of a complainant should be kept at arm's length," he said.

Mendelow sent a letter of complaint about Breytenbach to the then National Director of Public Prosecutions, Menzi Simelane, on 31 October last year, alleging she favoured Sishen in her probe and had an improper relationship with Hellens.

"Not only was advocate Hellens... drafting the key documents for the prosecution, he was also drafting various key... letters for the police unit," Mendelow said.

Hellens helped draft affidavits used by the police in their investigations.

Breytenbach said it was standard practice in a complex commercial case to call on the help of lawyers who were party to the case. However, Mendelow said the matter was not complex, but a relatively simple fraud case.

The dispute involves a 21.4% mining right in the Sishen iron ore mine in the Northern Cape.

Sishen Iron Ore Company, a subsidiary of Kumba Iron Ore Limited, which owns the rest of the rights in the Sishen mine, applied for the 21.4% stake.

However, ICT also applied for a prospecting right in the 21.4% stake, and was granted it. This led to a court battle involving Kumba, ICT and the mineral resources department.

The High Court in Pretoria then granted Kumba Iron Ore exclusive rights to the Sishen mine. However, in May this year the court granted ICT and the mineral resources department leave to appeal the ruling.

The matter was pending before the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Breytenbach was suspended as regional head of the NPA's specialised commercial crime unit on April 30 this year.

She has 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.

Breytenbach has pleaded not guilty to 16 charges brought against her by the NPA.

The hearing continues at 09:00 on Thursday.

- SAPA

Read more on:    npa  |  glynnis breytenbach
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
13 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Fire white civil servants in W Cape - Cosatu

If the ANC wins the Western Cape in the 7 May general election, Cosatu will ask it to fire more than half the white senior civil servants.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Newlands - 12:22 PM
    Road name: M3 Northbound
    DELAYS on Wynberg Hill
  • Thursday Newlands - 12:21 PM
    Road name: M3 Outbound
    DELAYS between Woolsack Drive and Wynberg Hill
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 8520

Wi-Fi enabled With the BlackBerry Curve 8520 connect to your home...

From R1100.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.