Breytenbach claims Mdluli probe was reason behind her NPA suspension

2017-10-09 18:58
Glynnis Breytenbach. (File, Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

Glynnis Breytenbach. (File, Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

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Pretoria - Former prosecutor, and now DA MP, Glynnis Breytenbach has reiterated that the case against former police crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli is at the heart of the reason for her suspension from the NPA, and the subsequent criminal charges levelled against her. 

Breytenbach is on trial in the Pretoria North Magistrate’s Court, facing charges relating to the unauthorised access to, and modification of, official laptop computer contents. 

This relates to documents deleted in a matter of a mining rights case involving Imperial Crown Trading (ICT) and Kumba Iron Ore subsidiary Sishen Iron Ore.

Taking the stand on Monday, Breytenbach gave her evidence-in-chief, saying that she was initially peripherally involved in the Mdluli case, as the Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit (SCCU) was investigating him for fraud, theft and corruption. 

She testified that she had become more involved when the investigating officers told her that there was interference by police and the National Prosecuting Authority, in that they were being denied access to witnesses and evidence. 

Shortly thereafter, former advocate Lawrence Mrwebi was appointed as the head of the (SCCU) and had interfered with the Mdluli case, said Breytenbach. 

'He has a vested interest in stopping me'

"It irritated me immensely that Mrwebi interfered in the Mdluli matter," Breytenbach told the court. 

She testified that Mrwebi had said that the charges against Mdluli should be withdrawn, despite the fact that there was a strong prima facie case against him. 

"It was very clear that the withdrawal was not sound of law.

"He [Mrwebi] has a vested interest in stopping me from prosecuting Mdluli."

Also read: NPA mum on unit head's apparent suspension

While Breytenbach’s suspension and the subsequent charges relate to her handling of the Kumba Iron Ore mining rights and her deleting of certain files, she maintains that her suspension was to prevent her from pursuing Mdluli. 

Breytenbach, who stands accused with her former lawyer Gerhard Wagenaar, said that she deleted personal information from her work computer and that there were affidavits and two draft letters that were mistakenly deleted, which she found out about later. 

She said, when she had the folder deleted, she thought only the draft letters were in the folder, and that they were police documents and not NPA documents. Additionally, the affidavits were available elsewhere. 

'I had nothing to hide'

In closing, Breytenbach said if she had wanted to keep information from the NPA, she could have disposed of the laptop in a number of ways. 

"I had nothing to hide," she told the court. 

During the prosecution's cross-examination, Advocate Raymond Mathenjwa said it was the State’s belief that Breytenbach was merely throwing the Mdluli matter into a case that had no relevance to the Mdluli prosecution. 

Mathenjwa told the court that the complaint had nothing to do with Mdluli and that Breytenbach’s resistance to the withdrawal of the Mdluli charges was baseless in relation to the charges she was now facing. 

Earlier in 2017, the Pretoria North Magistrate’s Court acquitted Breytenbach and Wagenaar on two counts of obstructing or defeating the ends of justice - which relates to their refusal to hand over an official laptop computer to NPA officials who were investigating acts of misconduct against Breytenbach.   

The trial has been postponed to Tuesday when cross-examination is expected to continue.

Read more on:    npa  |  glynnis breytenbach  |  richard mdluli

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