DA calls for Breytenbach to be re-instated

2013-05-27 20:39
Glynnis Breytenbach (Picture: Sapa)

Glynnis Breytenbach (Picture: Sapa)

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Pretoria - The Democratic Alliance on Monday called for NPA senior prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach to be re-instated immediately, after she was found not guilty on all 15 charges against her by a disciplinary hearing in Pretoria.

"The once superb Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit had already suffered the loss of its leader, advocate Chris Jordaan during the tenure of advocate Menzi Simelane as National Director of Public Prosecutions, when advocate Breytenbach was suspended," DA MP Dene Smuts said.

Smuts said Breytenbach had to be allowed to return to work.

In a statement soon after the hearing had concluded, Breytenbach had said said she intended returning to work if she was allowed to do so.

Earlier, hearing chairperson chairperson Selby Mbenenge SC announced that Breytenbach had been found not guilty on all charges.

"The guilt of the employee on this plethora of charges has not been established," said Mbenenge.

She was also found not guilty on any of the alternative charges.

Comment could not immediately be obtained from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

A core charge against the anti-graft prosecutor was failing to act impartially when investigating the Kumba Iron Ore/Sishen and Imperial Crown Trading mining rights issue, because of "improper relations" with Sishen's lawyer Mike Hellens.

Other charges included "surreptitiously leaking" NPA inside information to Beeld journalist Sonja Carstens; giving her official NPA laptop to her lawyer; and "maligning" the NPA in the media.

No evidence

Breytenbach was suspended from the NPA on 30 April 2012.

She claimed acting National Director of Public Prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba suspended her to stop her from prosecuting former police crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli on fraud and other charges.

In March, a parallel arbitration hearing at the Public Service Bargaining Council, in Centurion, found Breytenbach's suspension was both procedurally and substantively fair.

Her lawyer Gerhard Wagenaar said it was still being considered whether to review or appeal the arbitration hearing decision.

On Monday, Breytenbach was acquitted on five counts relating to allegations that Hellens influenced her, and that she allowed him to try to turn an accused - Imperial Crown Trading director Archie Luhlabo - into a State witness.

"There is not an iota of evidence that [Breytenbach] improperly attempted to obtain a confession from Mr Luhlabo by conspiring with Mr Hellens and [Nazeer Cassim SC] to do so," Mbenenge said.

"I do not, therefore, see my way clear in finding the employee guilty of misconduct on count one."

Mbenenge found there was no evidence to contradict Breytenbach's argument that she was always in control of the case and had remained objective.


She was acquitted on charges of misconduct relating to her work laptop.

The NPA had claimed that she handed her laptop to Wagenaar without permission, and allowed an IT technician to take it apart and copy and delete information.

Mbenenge said Breytenbach had to have wilfully caused unauthorised modifications of the computer with the intention of preventing access to any information or data it contained.

"After all exercises had been performed by the NPA IT expert [it was] confirmed that the entire contents of the employee's computer remained available to the NPA.

"This offence has not been proven to have been committed either."

She was charged with bringing the NPA into disrepute and contravening its media policy and public service regulations.

The NPA said that during interviews between February and June 2012 Breytenbach had stated that ulterior motives were behind her suspension.

"There is neither direct nor circumstantial evidence of the employee having conducted interviews to the media reporters and/or media houses concerning the reason [perceived or otherwise] for her suspension," Mbenenge said.

After hearing the finding Breytenbach hugged Wagenaar. He then read out a statement by her, in which she thanked everyone for their support.

"I am relieved that the chairperson saw the lack of justification in the charges laid against me," she said.

Read more on:    npa  |  nomgcobo jiba  |  glynnis breytenbach

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