NPA 'concerned' by Breytenbach shooting

2012-05-01 16:33
Johannesburg - The National Prosecuting Authority says it is looking into ways to assist suspended prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach after her car was reportedly shot at.

"We are concerned about her life being at risk but also worried that the matter was never reported to our security and risk unit because she is still an NPA employee although on suspension," spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said on Tuesday.

"We'll follow up the matter with the relevant unit to see how best to assist her," he said.

This follows Breytenbach's car being shot at two weeks ago, Beeld reported on Tuesday.

Attempt to intimidate

Breytenbach, regional head of the NPA in Gauteng's specialised commercial crime unit, said she was shot at on April 11 on the N14 highway near an offramp. She was on her way to her home in Centurion.

Two BMW motorcycles also reportedly tried to force her off the road while she was on her way to the gym last Wednesday.

She reported both incidents to the Hawks, but not to the police, because she could not see who her assailants were.

"If it was an attempt to intimidate me, it was not successful," she said to the newspaper.

Hawks' spokesperson Colonel McIntosh Polela confirmed Breytenbach reported the shooting incident immediately after it took place.

She also spoke to one of the specialised crime unit's investigators the next day.

"I'm not sure a case has been opened. We will have to confirm that with her. Without an open case, it would be difficult for the Hawks to proceed," said Polela.

Suspension

Breytenbach was issued with a letter of suspension on Monday, with the NPA saying the charges "relate to her conduct in handling one of the cases allocated to her".

The NPA has refused to elaborate on the charges.

The ACDP's Steve Swart, a member of Parliament's justice and constitutional development portfolio committee, expressed his outrage at Breytenbach's suspension and attempts to intimidate her.

"It is very clear that this campaign of intimidation is linked to Adv. Breytenbach’s involvement in high-profile cases, including her resistance to the dropping of charges against crime intelligence boss, Richard Mdluli and the [Imperial Crown Trading] and [expelled ANC Youth League president Julius] Malema matters," Swart said.

He said prosecutors must be able to perform their duties without fear, favour or prejudice.

Swart said the ACDP had previously expressed concerns about the safety of prosecutors in high-profile cases.

The party was assured by the NPA that sufficient protection would be provided where necessary.

"This case cries out for such urgent protection. The ACDP calls on the NPA to urgently provide bodyguards for Adv. Breytenbach, considering that she states she is still being followed." He said the matter would be pursued in Parliament.

Arms deal, Mdluli probes

According to reports, Breytenbach was responsible for the NPA's arms deal probe and the fraud case against crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.

Mhaga said at the time there was no link between Breytenbach's suspension and Mdluli.

"We dismiss those insinuations as baseless."

Breytenbach was issued with a notice of intention to suspend her in February.

- SAPA
Read more on:    npa  |  glynnis breytenbach  |  arms deal
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