NPA laid criminal charges against Breytenbach

2012-07-24 15:04

The National Prosecuting Authority has laid criminal charges against senior prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach related to information that was allegedly deleted from her laptop.

This surprise revelation by Hercules Wasserman, a senior manager at the NPA’s Integrity Management Unit, was made during Breytenbach’s disciplinary hearing this afternoon.

Wasserman confirmed that an investigator had laid a charge in terms of the National Prosecuting Authorty Act against Breytenbach at the Pretoria Central Police Station.

The NPA Act provides for a criminal sanction in cases where there is unauthorised access to or modification of NPA computer material.

Wasserman said that the investigation team had “forensic evidence” that information had been destroyed by the installation of forensic software on the laptop.

Wasserman called it “a deliberate attempt to hamper the investigation”, which was illegal.

His testimony today focused mainly on Breytenbach’s alleged refusal to hand over her NPA laptop before details of a complaint about her conduct in the Kumba-Sishen Iron Ore and Imperial Crown Trading mining rights dispute were provided to her.

Breytenbach also wanted the NPA to only have access to official information on her laptop.

Earlier he had also testified that all information on an NPA laptop belonged to the NPA, although private information was permitted.

Wasserman testified that the NPA had received a letter from Breytenbach’s attorney in February which stated that she would delete all the information from her laptop and then return it to the NPA if they refused to respect private information.

He said the criminal complaint, which was still under investigation, was made in the weeks following this letter.

Wasserman also testified that the investigation team had obtained access to Breytenbach’s NPA inbox through the server.

“It was clear that there was a lot of communication between Advocate Breytenbach and Advocate (Mike) Hellens,” he said.

Mike Hellens is the senior counsel who was acting for Kumba-Sishen in the mining rights dispute against ICT.

Breytenbach was investigating ICT for alleged fraud.

“What was of great concern for us was that certain affidavits were drafted by Advocate Hellens and then forwarded to Advocate Breytenbach (to be used in the investigation),” he said.

The disciplinary hearing is set to continue tomorrow.

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