Minister tells NPA to keep mum on suspension

2014-06-25 10:07
Newly appointed Justice Minister Michael Masutha. (GCIS/ Sapa)

Newly appointed Justice Minister Michael Masutha. (GCIS/ Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The NPA has been instructed by Justice Minister Michael Masutha not to comment on any organisational matter, including the reported suspension of its integrity management unit (IMU) head Prince Mokotedi.

"We are not commenting on that one," National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Nathi Mncube said on Wednesday.

"You don't need to know anything of an organisation that is internal. There was a commitment that was undertaken, where Minister Masutha came to us and told us not to comment on any matter pertaining to [the] NPA."

Justice department spokesperson Lawrence Ngobeni referred enquiries to the NPA.

"I cannot comment about a suspension that I don't know about, speak to the NPA."

Awaiting formal charges

He told Sapa he was not in the meeting between the minister and the NPA and did not know if that instruction was given by the minister.

On Wednesday, The New Age quoted Mokotedi confirming the suspension and declining to comment further.

He told the newspaper he awaited formal charges and a date for a formal hearing.

Mokotedi received the suspension notice on Friday, a day after The Star reported that a final report by the IMU recommended that former prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach be criminally charged for corruption, misconduct, conflict of interest, fraud, and racketeering.

In the unit's report, which was similar to its draft report released in February, Breytenbach is accused of soliciting a loan of US$1m (about R11m) from businessman Nathan Kirsh, a complainant in two cases she was prosecuting.

Breytenbach is also accused of accepting a R6.3m donation from Kirsh through the FW de Klerk Foundation towards legal fees in her labour dispute with the NPA.

‘Improper relations’

In April 2012, Breytenbach was suspended from the NPA and later faced a lengthy disciplinary hearing on 15 charges, which included failing to act impartially while investigating the Kumba Iron Ore Sishen and Imperial Crown Trading mining rights issue.

She was accused of "improper relations" with Sishen's lawyer Mike Hellens. Breytenbach countered that this was related to her opposition to a decision to withdraw fraud and corruption charges against former police crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli.

In May last year, an NPA disciplinary hearing found her not guilty on all the charges and she was allowed to return to work, only to find she was to be transferred.

In the Labour Court, Breytenbach unsuccessfully applied to have her transfer overturned.
Breytenbach left the NPA to join the Democratic Alliance as an MP.
Read more on:    npa  |  michael masutha  |  glynnis breytenbach

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