Lawyer explains Breytenbach complaint

2012-08-14 18:35
Glynnis Breytenbach (File, Beeld)

Glynnis Breytenbach (File, Beeld)

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Pretoria - Lawyer Ronnie Mendelow said on Tuesday prosecutors should act fairly, as he explained why he had complained to the NPA about Glynnis Breytenbach.

Mendelow was testifying at Breytenbach's disciplinary inquiry at the National Prosecuting Authority's (NPA) offices in Silverton, Pretoria.

Mendelow, of Mendelow Jacobs Attorneys, was acting on behalf of Imperial Crown Trading (ICT).

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

Mendelow told the hearing the prosecutor in the investigation into the dispute should have acted with due regard to the prosecutors' code of conduct.

"We believe that any investigation would equally entail an investigation into allegations regarding [Sishen's] own fraudulent conduct," he said.

Reading from the code, he said prosecutors should act without fear, favour or prejudice; they must act impartially; they must not become personally involved; and they must ensure they make reasonable enquiries into all evidence.

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

She has argued that acting National Director of Pubic 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.

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 Sishen's counsel Mike Hellens.

Mendelow told the hearing in great detail the complex background to the ICT and Sishen dispute.

The dispute arose after steelmaker ArcelorMittal did not convert its 21.4% old order mining right in the Sishen mine in the Northern Cape, into a new order mining right by the deadline of 30 April 2009.

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 is still pending before the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Shareholders in ICT include President Jacob Zuma's son Duduzane and Atul Gupta. The Gupta family has close links to the African National Congress.

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

The hearing continues.

- SAPA
Read more on:    npa  |  nomgcobo jiba  |  glynnis breytenbach
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