Breytenbach back to court over ‘witch hunt’

2013-06-23 14:00

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Senior prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach has accused acting prosecutions head Nomgcobo Jiba of conducting a “witchhunt” to prevent her from prosecuting suspended crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli.

This allegation is contained in an urgent application to be filed by Breytenbach in the labour court tomorrow. The application was served on Jiba and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on Friday.

Court papers reveal details of three new charges the NPA is investigating against her.

The application comes after Jiba has refused to let Breytenbach return to her job as head of the Pretoria branch of the specialised commercial crimes unit (SCCU), even after she was cleared in a disciplinary hearing.

Breytenbach is asking the labour court to order the NPA to reinstate her to her old job.

Jiba is refusing to let Breytenbach return to the SCCU because of the new charges the NPA is investigating against her and because of an alleged breakdown of trust between Breytenbach and her superiors.

Breytenbach was informed about the new charges at a meeting less than two weeks after she was cleared of 15 previous charges of misconduct.

The new charges relate to:

»?The granting of a section 204 indemnity from prosecution to Stefanutti director Schalk Ackerman, who spilled the beans on multimillion-rand fraud, collusion and racketeering in the construction industry.

The NPA charges that Breytenbach granted indemnity to “19 or 20” Stefanutti employees;

»? A plea-bargain agreement with David Tselapedi, a former employee of Allcare Administrators, who blew the whistle on corruption in the medical aid industry; and

»?Breytenbach’s alleged “improper business relationship” with Advocate André Bezuidenhout, who represented Stefanutti executives, including Ackerman, and Tselapedi in negotiations with Breytenbach.

A response from Breytenbach’s attorney Gerhard Wagenaar to the new charges, which is attached to her labour court affidavit, says that only Ackerman was granted indemnity.

This was done in consultation with the director of public prosecutions in Pretoria, Advocate Sibongile Mzinyathi, as well as other prosecutors and the investigating officer assigned to the case, writes Wagenaar.

Wagenaar states that Tselapedi’s pleas and sentence agreement was also concluded in the ordinary course of events and discussed with Mzinyathi.

He also states that Breytenbach denies ever having had any business agreement relationship (with Bezuidenhout) that was not disclosed.

In her affidavit, Breytenbach says: “Investigating new charges against me smacks of a witchhunt, where (the NPA) appears willing to do anything to prevent me from going back to my post and the prosecutions I was handling.”

Breytenbach says her redeployment by Jiba is in breach of her employment contract and “nothing more than a continuation of this attempt to prevent me from prosecuting General Mdluli”.

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