Breytenbach’s boss had ‘an axe to grind’

2013-05-06 15:04

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The director of prosecutions at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Lawrence Mrwebi, lied at suspended prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach’s disciplinary hearing, the hearing has been told.

“Mr Mrwebi, being the only witness relied upon by the prosecution, was a poor witness and thoroughly dishonest,” Breytenbach’s counsel, Wim Trengove, submitted in closing arguments at the NPA’s headquarters in Pretoria today.

“He obviously lied again and again, and we give examples in our heads of argument.”

Mrwebi, Breytenbach’s boss, is the special director of public prosecutions and national head of the specialised commercial crimes unit. He gave evidence in January.

The NPA and Breytenbach’s defence team have submitted heads of argument to the chairman of the disciplinary hearing, Selby Mbenenge.

Trengove said instead of submitting factual evidence, Mrwebi had given his opinion.

“The evidence presented to you by the NPA has been appalling. They call Mr Mrwebi, who doesn’t know the difference between truth and untruth,” he said.

“Mr Mrwebi was everything but impartial. He came here with an axe to grind. He lied again and again. To accept his opinion is completely unfounded.”

Breytenbach was suspended from the NPA on April 30 2012 for allegedly failing to act impartially in an investigation.

She was part of a probe relating to a dispute between Imperial Crown Trading and Sishen/Kumba Iron Ore over mining rights in the Northern Cape.

Breytenbach believes acting national director of public prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba suspended her to stop her from prosecuting former police crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli on fraud and other charges.

Earlier today, NPA advocate William Mokhari said there was insufficient evidence to prop up two of the 15 charges against Breytenbach, relating to her failure to disclose financial interests.

In March a parallel arbitration hearing at the public service bargaining council in Centurion found Breytenbach’s suspension was both procedurally and substantively fair.

Her lawyer, Gerhard Wagenaar, said it was still being considered whether to taking the arbitration hearing decision on review or appeal.

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