State attorney spilled the beans

2013-01-24 17:05

The head of the State Attorney’s office in Johannesburg, Kgosi Lekabe, told mining company Kumba Iron Ore that one of their adversaries was prepared to spill the beans in a multimillion-rand mining rights case.

Advocate Wim Trengove SC, representing suspended anti-graft prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach, revealed this afternoon that it was Lekabe who told Kumba’s lawyers a director of Imperial Crown (ICT) wanted to turn state witness against the company.

Lekabe is the latest high-ranking official named in the ICT/Kumba fallout, that already involves the department of mineral resources, the Hawks and the NPA.

The ICT case is central to Breytenbach’s suspension.

One of the charges against her is that she acted agains prosecution policy by asking Advocate Mike Hellens SC, acting for Kumba, to negotiate a plea bargain with ICT director Archie Luhlabo.

Attorney Anthony Norton, representing Kumba, testified earlier in the day that his colleague was told by an anonymous lawyer about Luhlabo’s intention to turn state witness.

He proceeded to tell Hellens about it.

At the same time, Breytenbach also told Hellens that she was told by attorney Ian Small-Smith that Luhlabo wanted to negotiate a deal indemnifying him from prosecution.

Norton didn’t want to reveal the identity of the first attorney who told him about Luhlabo. He was asked to confirm with the attorney if he wanted his name revealed.

Later in the afternoon Trengove said he was instructed to release Lekabe’s name as the person who gave through the tip.

Luhlabo testified last week that it was untrue he wanted to make a deal with the state.

Hellens is currently giving evidence in Breytenbach’s hearing. He described her as “bristly, bumptious and half-rude” and said Breytenbach had reduced grown men to tears in the past.

He said he and Breytenbach were friends but that she was fiercely independent and wouldn’t allow him or Kumba to interfere with her investigation.

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