Breytenbach deleted info, witness claims

2012-07-24 16:39

Pretoria - Suspended prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach deleted evidence from her work laptop before returning it to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), a witness told her disciplinary hearing in Pretoria on Tuesday.

"A forensic report... found that certain evidence was intentionally destroyed and deleted from the laptop," said NPA integrity management unit acting senior manager Hercules Wasserman.

Wasserman told the hearing, at the NPA offices in Silverton, that his unit had set up a meeting with Breytenbach on 7 February to collect her laptop.

Her attorney Gerhard Wagenaar attended the meeting, and they agreed that Breytenbach would be allowed to make a mirror copy of her hard drive to protect her rights, and would hand over the laptop later that day.

Wagenaar instead sent the NPA a letter in which he said they would hand over the computer only when certain conditions had been fulfilled.

"The laptop is the property of the NPA and no employee has the right to issue certain ultimatums," Wasserman said.

Breytenbach allegedly wanted more information on the charges against her and was concerned about the privacy of information on the laptop.

Sensitive information

She then apparently went on leave for about a week, leaving the laptop with her attorney.

Wasserman said she did not inform him she was going on leave or inform him of the whereabouts of the computer.

It was of serious concern that an NPA laptop was in the hands of a third party, especially given the highly sensitive nature of the information on it relating to high profile cases, Wasserman said.

Once Breytenbach returned from leave, her attorney still refused to hand over the laptop until her conditions were met, and later offered to return it only once all the information on it had been deleted.

"[This] would amount to the destruction of information that belongs to the NPA," Wasserman said.

The NPA then laid a criminal charge against Breytenbach at the SA Police Service's Pretoria central branch. This matter was still pending, Wasserman said.

His unit obtained Breytenbach's laptop only when she was suspended, he said.

Breytenbach was suspended as regional head of the specialised commercial crime unit on 30 April.

Wasserman said his unit was asked to investigate Breytenbach following a complaint by Mendelow Jacobs Attorneys on behalf of Imperial Crown Trading (ICT) in December last year.

Breytenbach has pleaded not guilty to 16 charges brought against her by the NPA.

Some of the charges relate to her conduct while investigating the Sishen/Kumba Iron Ore and ICT mining rights dispute.

The NPA alleges that Breytenbach acted impartially in favouring Sishen over ICT in her probe.

She has also been charged with gross insubordination and improper conduct for allegedly not handing over her work laptop to the NPA, and for having information on it deleted.

Protecting Mdluli

Other charges relate to Breytenbach bringing the NPA into disrepute by speaking to the media, either directly or via her attorney, without authorisation.

She allegedly brought the NPA into disrepute in her Labour Court application, in which she contended that acting national director of public prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba suspended her in an attempt to protect former intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.

William Mokhari, counsel for the NPA, said she made these allegations "when you knew that in actual fact your suspension related to your conduct in the Kumba/ICT matter".

She is also charged with performing work outside the NPA.

On 18 July the Johannesburg Labour Court dismissed Breytenbach's challenge against her suspension as the judge found no extraordinary or compelling, urgent circumstances to declare her suspension unlawful.

Last year, Mdluli faced a raft of fraud and corruption charges relating to the alleged misuse of a secret crime intelligence fund to buy luxury vehicles.

He also faced a charge of murder relating to the death of an ex-lover's husband.

These charges led to his initial suspension, but they were withdrawn and he was reinstated before being suspended again in May this year, by then acting police commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi.

Mdluli appealed against his suspension in the Johannesburg Labour Court, but it decided that he should remain suspended until he had also filed an application for leave to appeal an interim order - granted by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on 6 June, to Freedom Under Law - that he be suspended and not be allowed to do police work.

  • joe.farmer.92775 - 2012-07-24 16:46

    Imperial Crown's Trading ICT shareholders include Gugu Mtshali, reportedly Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe's romantic partner. Fifty percent is held by Jagdish Parekh, a key executive of the group of companies controlled by the Gupta brothers, benefactors of President Jacob Zuma and his family. welcome to animal farm

      johan.vanheerden.737 - 2012-07-24 16:51

      she asked too many difficult questions and this is their way of shutting her up

      arthur.hugh - 2012-07-24 17:13

      She should pull an Asange and gooi all the info she has on the internet. If she's innocent and there's damning info on there it can't be "hidden" (or bullied into non-existence) now can it.

      chris.cooper.7315720 - 2012-07-24 17:37

      All this performance for a disciplinary hearing? They make it sound like she's destroyed the Hague's evidence that implicated suspected war criminals.

  • nrgx.nrg - 2012-07-24 16:50

    who is this "witness", if Glyness took it home to "delete" the files, it could only be her husband, child or close friend. If the files were found during a proper "forensic report" they would be able to be recovered. If so....what files did she delete, please clarify.

      vusi.masombuka.5 - 2012-07-24 17:00

      Didn't you read who the witness is or you read what you wanted to hear? Or did you read with an attitude to take her side? Any organization doesn't need to even to go for data recovery because that laptop belongs to her employer, its not her personal laptop.

      chaplinncharlie - 2012-07-24 21:20

      Vusi if the laptop belongs to the company and she put on her personal data on there or clients details she is aloud to take the data off, the data as it belongs to her and her client, data is protected under law and she isn't aloud to give out the data. Hence deleting it. Any proper forensic company could have recompiled the data even if she deleted it...

      press.enter.12 - 2012-07-24 23:03

      So if the NPA couldn't recompile the alleged deleted data after she handed over the laptop it simply means it was not there in the first place or she shredded it properly (as they seem to argue)- Its could also be the ICT crowd (through proxies at the NPA) trying to get to the facts of the case she was preparing against them. Major scandal lurking

  • shirley.steenkamp - 2012-07-24 16:55

    Conspiracy theories are appearing in my crystal ball!

  • djmain1 - 2012-07-24 16:55

    Hmmm - sounds like the Vusi Pikoli shenanigans all over again. Phansi cANCer, phansi!!!

  • peter.jeffrey.581 - 2012-07-24 16:56

    And they know she deleted information how?....

      nettie.potgieter.5 - 2012-07-24 17:28

      Hehehe Mister Lol

      morama.sebata - 2012-07-24 17:37

      Go do IT at university level and you will understand how they came to such conclusion.

      peter.jeffrey.581 - 2012-07-24 17:41

      @morama.sebata - I did.. perhaps you should, because you wouldn't know information is missing unless you were looking for it

      Malose-Nyatlo - 2012-07-24 17:55

      Information deleted from a computer can easily be recreated - even people not in IT know that. Check your facts please. It is not people of a particular race who feel disappointed by the turn of events in this case, but across the spectrum. To take sides whilst the case is still unfolding is also not wise.

      peter.jeffrey.581 - 2012-07-24 18:04

      @Malose-Nyatlo - Recreating destroyed data is infact the hardest thing you can do and is often impossible to completely recover, perhaps you should educate yourself about the working of computer and memory... The easiest thing you can do on a computer is actually create falsified information. So maybe you should check your facts first?

      John - 2012-07-24 19:18

      Actually to restore data from a computer is actually very easy. You can even restore data from burnt drives. Recovery solutions work extremely well. To look for something you need to know what you're looking for so how would you know it's been deleted if you didn't know what to look for.

      jan.vanrensburg.988 - 2012-07-24 19:27

      Peter there is specialist software available that scans hard drives and shows all files that were deleted from the drive. The names of the files are available but they are not necessarily recoverable. Specialist forensic IT specialists use this software and I have used it myself. They ran the scan and picked up that files were deleted. So John your theory is wrong. You dont need to know what you're looking for. the scans show up everything that is can detect in the drives file tables. even deleted ones no one knows about. Like I said I have done it myself.

      chaplinncharlie - 2012-07-24 22:34

      Jan if the files are there then you should be able to look at them... The format might have changed because you will need a binary extrator to get the files off...

  • lownabester - 2012-07-24 16:57

    I would have done the same, Adv, Glynnis we are behind you. Dammit you need to get your job back, we want the truth,

      morama.sebata - 2012-07-24 17:39

      You think NPA aren't doing theirs? Ok,i see what's happening here.RACE ISSUE IS STILL PLAYING PART SPECIFICALLY ON THE COMMENTATORS.

      peter.jeffrey.581 - 2012-07-24 17:47

      @morama.sebata - Your a moron, so because people defend her and dont agree with your views they are being racist now? Sounds like the exact words of a racist...

      rontheogre - 2012-07-24 23:58

      Morama, if a little green man from Mars came to me with undisputed proof that the DA were a third force, Malema is a genius or the earth was flat, I would still believe him, irrespective of who or what he was as long as the truth was backed up with facts. If I had the same chip on my shoulder I would still be a brainwashed racist believing in the swart gevaar. Now you try and do the same. We are deemed equal until someone proves otherwise by their thoughts, attitudes or actions. Please do not disappoint.

  • morama.sebata - 2012-07-24 17:07

    I don't deny how she wants the truth to be heard but guys,is this woman married and who's that blind guy?

      rontheogre - 2012-07-25 00:00

      Maroma, you just disappointed me!

  • victor.tamaranui - 2012-07-24 17:09

    Breytenbach is the criminal here.......Let her go without any reparation.

      morama.sebata - 2012-07-24 17:42

      Naah,Irene,all that think are irritional....especially whites are behind her.I am behind and would always support everyone irrespective of colour,that support the truth.Who are we to speculate meanwhile we have the judiciary in our country.Let alone everyone's assumption but the truth be told by those responsible!!!!

      rontheogre - 2012-07-25 00:07

      Ha, I see there are many of the people commenting here that are strong with the force, the ancestors are talking or have a crystal ball. Can you give me the correct lotto numbers as well? I think it is more of a case of you are racist, she is white, competent, has pride in what she does, are a danger to corrupt people, has more balls than most men in SA, and a definitive danger to your manhood as she works hard, has shown to have ethics, and does not bow down to pressure when the going gets tough.

  • irene.buthelezi.1 - 2012-07-24 17:16

    The NPA alleges that Breytenbach acted impartially in favouring Sishen over ICT in her probe. _______ This sentence alone proves why she was suspended. The ICT shareholders ie. cANCer buddies aka Motlanthle's squeeze and the Guptas are upset they never got the grrrravy. Fight on Glynis, all rational citizens are behind you, and thank you for taking on the filth.

      peter.jeffrey.581 - 2012-07-24 17:57

      @dino.goodman.7 - Ever stop to think that she was framed? Handing your laptop to the people that suspend you is like pretty much hanging yourself. The only way you would ever known data is deleted is if you were looking for data that was deleted or know what was missing, its that simple. She could have deleted an email with her birthday invitation attached, unless they fully recovered the data and prove explicitly that it was sensitive information i will continue to believe she is being framed because she knew too much about Mdluli and friends

      Lennon Chenga - 2012-07-24 18:16

      What you are failing to understand is the laptop and all info was the property of her employer. She should have copied it if she wanted to strengthen her case, not erase it!!!

      John - 2012-07-24 19:20

      The point isn't about who the data belongs to, but what or who it's on. Yes it probably does belong to the NPA but the NPA's record isn't very clean on Prosecutions is it. Breytenbach probably just wants to ensure the data stored on the laptop doesn't disappear or get used to get the people she was investigating off the hook. The case against Breytenbach is very weak and if the NPA was affective why are so many cases being dismissed due to 'lack of evidence'. Pass the evidence to the defence and there is no case to answer. e.g. Zuma Tapes, Mdluli case dismissed, ICT full of ANC cronies. The NPA is no impartial as it should be the Law should be free of political interference. Funny how Zuma was to review the judicary. Why?

      Lennon Chenga - 2012-07-24 19:54

      John, she erased it!!! Not copied, ERASED, so yes, it comes back to who OWNS the info!!! In this case it's the employers info thus you are NOT allowed to ERASE it unless ofcourse if you have something to hide!!!

      victor.tamaranui - 2012-07-24 19:58

      Detractors have many deflecting theories. It's entertaining the scuttling for the high ground with no foundation.

      press.enter.12 - 2012-07-24 23:20

      @lennon chenga - or as we normally do when you erase working copies of reports and only keep the final product, or clean rubbish of your harddrive for housekeeping purposes - or when you erase personal stuff or unsolicited e-mails - all normal part of using a computer to do your work. She didnt erase data from a file server. Its a bit like throwing away handwritten notes kept for drafting purposes. Why do you assume the erased files were not of the aforementioned type - and nothing illegal about that. Its bloody obvious someone wanted to peek at her notes - and that would be illegal in terms of her constitutional responsiblities (and responibilities) to prosecute without fear or favour - especially if she can show there was efforts to thwart her investigations - trust no one.

  • duma.nkabinde - 2012-07-24 17:30

    She is hiding something! There is more to this than meets the eye!

  • bongani.nsele.58 - 2012-07-24 17:30

    i was thinking highly of her but.. alas she is silly, is she working for parallel bosses or the gvt? escort her out of the NPA

  • Billy - 2012-07-24 17:39

    hmmmm. client confidentiality, does the client confide in the lawyer or the firm? if its the firm, does that mean i share everything with the hospital or doctor's rooms? technically the laptop and everything on it belongs to the company, period. a proper contract would state this, personal use is normally not permitted. then again, if the laptop was setup properly(gp lock down) all information would be on the user's profile, on their server. deleted data can be retrieved by data recovery specialists, intratec in cape town for one, they can even do it for that racing mini driver artists fool case that deleted videos from his phone.

  • somikazi.pita - 2012-07-24 17:41

    This woman played us for real, everyone was behind her!

      peter.jeffrey.581 - 2012-07-24 18:00

      No verdict has been heard how do you know she is guilty?

      Lennon Chenga - 2012-07-24 18:10

      We not saying she's guilty but she's definitely not as innocent as we thought she was! I truly believed she was being victimised!!!

      rontheogre - 2012-07-25 00:09

      That all depends on what was deleted, doesn't it?

  • Erna - 2012-07-24 17:45

    What happened to the usual 'innocent until proven guilty'?

  • - 2012-07-24 18:00

    If a laptop containing criminal records and sensitive case matter is misplaced, it would cause a storm and the negligent fela would be summarily get the chop. Now we have some 'responsible' office leaving it in the 'safe' hands of her lawyers who, even if they are lawyers are thrid parties and we have to think she is somehow a saint? How stupid can we be. I recall a few months ago a British office left some disks on a train and was chopped off. If my info was among the one on the laptop, it would be WAR!

  • - 2012-07-24 18:02

    When can we expect the laptop info to be on Wikileaks?

  • jannie.beirowski - 2012-07-24 18:24

    As said, if they can claim she deleted data, they should be able to recover, or prove that. They did not say that. The NPA alleges that Breytenbach acted impartially in favouring Sishen over ICT in her probe. How can you act IMPARTIALLY by favouring someone? Is this reported incorrectly, or a mistake of the NPA? Why is a fight between ICT and Cumba receiving such attention? What are the demands she made? There is such a lot of unanswered questions that no-one can give an unbiased comment. Therefore please approach this situation with an open mind as we can not determine who is right or wrong on the limited information given.

  • toofaan.monsoon - 2012-07-24 19:07

    Does this mean that the NPA does not back up info on it's laptops to it's server ? Even my company does an automatic back-up every day. Scary, cos this means that important info can easily go missing.

  • joe.irwin.50 - 2012-07-24 19:31

    There are more salvos going to be fired before we get to the bottom of this lot. Personally I would not be surprised if it is all sour grapes on behalf of the connected ICT shareholders. As for Mdlul, well I think we all know he was being protected. It may have changed now though.

  • cj.venter - 2012-07-25 07:40

    download GetDataGack on her laptop and salvage the info, it's not rocket science :D

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