Breytenbach is reckless – NPA

2012-06-23 17:50

Acting prosecutions boss Jiba rubbishes claim advocate was suspended over Mdluli case

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has accused suspended prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach of being a reckless, attention-seeking liar.

Breytenbach will square up to her bosses tomorrow when she brings an urgent application in the Johannesburg Labour Court to be reinstated as head of the Pretoria commercial crimes unit.

In a strongly-worded affidavit filed at the court this week, acting prosecutions boss Nomgcobo Jiba has slammed Breytenbach’s contention that she was suspended for pursuing a fraud case against top-cop Richard Mdluli.

This, Jiba says, was an attempt to draw attention away from the real charges against her.

“The applicant (Breytenbach) has engaged in a frivolous and reckless attack on me (Jiba) and her employer the NPA and other members thereof and engaged in a fruitless fishing expedition. She has attempted to portray herself as a victim and in the process to vilify the NPA,” Jiba stated.

It has now also emerged the NPA will ask for Breytenbach to be fired should she be found guilty in her disciplinary hearing.

Her conduct, according to the latest amended charge sheet served on Breytenbach this week, has led to “an irreparable breakdown of the employment relationship between yourself and the NPA”.

This week saw Breytenbach’s disciplinary hearing being postponed to July 23 after only one day was set down for evidence to be led.

At the hearing, City Press and its holding company Media24 brought an application for the media to be allowed to cover proceedings.

Advocate Barry Madolo, who chairs the ruling, will rule this week on whether the application was successful.

The labour court application will run separately from the disciplinary hearing.

Breytenbach is asking the court to reinstate her because, according to her, the NPA has no intention to complete her disciplinary hearing and she was suspended for an ulterior purpose – to prevent Mdluli from being prosecuted.

But in an affidavit filed on Wednesday, Jiba rubbishes this claim and portrays Breytenbach as an unethical hypocrite.

Jiba says the charges against Breytenbach – that she apparently chose sides in the battle over multibillion-rand mining rights between Kumba Iron Ore and Imperial Crown Trading (ICT) – “go to the heart of the prosecution (sic) independence”.

Breytenbach was the prosecutor in the case where Kumba accused ICT of forging its application for the 21.4% mining rights in the Sishen iron ore mine.

After ICT complained to the NPA about Breytenbach’s conduct, she withdrew from the case.

The mineral resources department awarded the mining rights to ICT, but the North Gauteng High Court overturned the decision last year. An appeal is pending before the Supreme Court of Appeal.

According to Breytenbach’s charge sheet, she acted in a biased manner and displayed hostility towards ICT.

At the heart of the case against Breytenbach is the assistance she and the Hawks received from Kumba’s counsel, advocate Mike Hellens SC, in their criminal investigation.

In her affidavit, Jiba lists emails sent between Breytenbach and Hellens that, according to her, show that Hellens drafted and settled affidavits that were used in the investigation against ICT.

“Hellens was counsel for one of the complainant parties (Kumba) and had no business to draft or settle affidavits that were used on behalf of the state when he was not (appointed by the state),” Jiba states.

She further accuses Breytenbach of attempting to negotiate a plea bargain for ICT director Archie Luhlabo through Hellens and another private advocate, Nazeer Cassim SC.

Jiba finds the allegation that she suspended Breytenbach to protect Mdluli from prosecution “highly objectionable and defamatory”.

These “reckless and scandalous allegations”, Jiba says, aren’t backed up by facts.

Jiba will apply to the court to strike out these allegations as “irrelevant and scandalous”.

“I repeat that the allegations against General Mdluli did not play any part in the suspension of the applicant (Breytenbach).

“The applicant, in her attempt to attract media and public sympathy has distorted the true reasons for her suspension and alleged that they had something to do with General Mdluli.

“This is denied in the strongest possible terms,” Jiba states.

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