Breytenbach probe 'beyond mandate'

2012-07-25 20:17

Pretoria - A probe into suspended NPA prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach's conduct went far beyond its mandate in order to "rustle up" charges, her lawyer said on Wednesday.

"You trawled far and wide through her personal correspondence to rustle up other charges," Wim Trengove said at her disciplinary hearing in Pretoria.

He was cross-examining Hercules Wasserman, acting senior manager of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) integrity management unit.

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

This related to a dispute between ICT and Sishen/Kumba Iron Ore over mining rights, which Breytenbach investigated.

Wasserman earlier testified that his unit had accessed Breytenbach's e-mails on the NPA server.

Trengove asked Wasserman if his unit had done anything other than go through Breytenbach's e-mails to investigate ICT's complaint.

Wasserman admitted they had not.

Among the charges Breytenbach is facing, are those of gross insubordination and improper conduct for allegedly not handing over her work laptop to the NPA, and for having information on it deleted.

Wasserman told the hearing he had reassured Breytenbach that her personal information would be treated with sensitivity when she refused to hand over the laptop.

Trengove said this had not happened, and instead investigators had used personal information to draw up further charges.

This included using Breytenbach's application for car finance in 2009 to draw up a charge of performing work outside the NPA; she allegedly rented out a flat and ran a horse stabling business.

In her application for car finance, Breytenbach listed under "other income" that she earned R4 000 a month for renting out a flat and stabling a horse.

"You were meant to be investigating the Mendelow complaint... and this document has nothing whatsoever to do with it," Trengove said.

Wasserman conceded: "This did not have anything to do with the Mendelow complaint."


Earlier, Trengove said that Wasserman's testimony that evidence was deleted from Breytenbach's laptop was "reckless and misleading".

"It's a highly incriminating statement to make... it was reckless and misleading," Trengove said.

Wasserman told the hearing on Tuesday: "A forensic report... found that certain evidence was intentionally destroyed and deleted from the laptop." Trengove asked on Wednesday how Wasserman could have known that what was deleted was evidence.

Wasserman said 508 files were deleted, but the forensic report indicated these were not retrievable so it was not possible to know their content.

"You had no basis for your evidence that what was deleted was evidence," Trengove said.

He said Wasserman had not told the hearing that nothing had been deleted from the laptop before April 30 - the day Breytenbach was suspended.

A mirror copy of the hard drive was made in the presence of two NPA officials, before files "of a personal nature" were deleted.

The officials had declined an offer for a copy of the hard drive, Trengove said.

Wasserman said: "It wasn't brought to my attention."

Breytenbach has pleaded not guilty to 16 charges brought against her by the NPA at the hearing at its offices in Silverton.

The hearing continues.

  • lownabester - 2012-07-25 20:29

    With Trengove in her corner, Glynnis will be ok. He is good.

  • tumisang.kolobe - 2012-07-25 20:31

    Lol...thats the whole point of an go far and while into the personal files and emails especially on the work computer....every employee has signed a confidentiality clause....especially with delicate cases like prosecutions you dont want people leaking information to the media

      yar.wellnofine - 2012-07-25 20:49

      Tumisang Correction - the real point of prosecution is to get the facts so that criminals end up behind bars. Glynnis clearly went the extra mile to get the goods on both ICT and Mdluli. This upset the Zuma appointed NPA who are afraid of the truth getting out. All of the computer usage policy and confidentiality issues are a sideshow. The real issue is prosecuting criminals.

      justin.massyn - 2012-07-25 21:23

      Tumisang, where you from? Madagascar along with King Julian? - 2012-07-25 21:28

      really, one set of rules for one and another for ANC .. if she was an ANC member they would of lost all evidence against her ..

  • yar.wellnofine - 2012-07-25 20:32

    Well done Wim Trengove and Glynnis. Stand firm in the face of intimidation and corruption. It is increasingly clear that the Association of National Corruption is trying to use the system against Glynnis because she is exposing their wrongdoing.

  • michael.bushes - 2012-07-25 20:42

    The news around eTolling is silent at the moment, Malema has been expelled, so now we have to put up with this as news for now. Its been a slooowwww news week

  • devon.riley.52 - 2012-07-25 20:43

    Beginning to sound like a case of constructive dismissal.

      devon.riley.52 - 2012-07-25 20:44

      Hope ms Breytenbach takes them to the cleaners after all said and done

      yar.wellnofine - 2012-07-25 21:07

      @devon Poorly constructed. Like an RDP house.

  • prieurp34 - 2012-07-25 21:13

    Funny, they have to dig back so far to try and get something on Breytenbach, shame, maybe she stole 5c when she was 6 years old, who knows, but be damn sure Wasserman and partners will go back so far to find something against her! They come up with irrelevant information that has got nothing to do with her charges! This is surely going to make the NPA look like primary school kids with their tails between their legs ones the charges has been dropped! Siestog shame! Then Breytenbach should sue the crap out of the NPA! Good luck Breytenbach, sure you'll walk out with your head held high!

      Armand - 2012-07-26 16:07

      It is shocking to see that Mr. Wasserman can't see he is busy with a witch hunt here on the orders of the ANC. I take this a a well schooled man, so I can only assume he has no morals to have gone along with this craziness.

  • madulla.nkosi - 2012-07-25 21:37

    The last time that Trengove went up against a NPA official, in a high profile case, Trengove won 10-0. Menzi Simelane had to admit that he was a liar and a cheat. This case is going the same way........ Run Wasserman, run..........while you still have the chance!!!

  • bryan.culross - 2012-07-25 21:55

    Rent out a property and the stabling of a solitary horse is hardly running a business ... next it will be a case of earning interest income is a business ... pathetic ... and when the NPA was instructed by the Court to hand over doc's to the NPA they contravened the court order!!

      kevin.watson.7906 - 2012-07-25 22:36

      You got that right! Total incompetence in the Management of the NPA because of politically appointed cadres. If I were the Judge of record in the matter where they ignored my Court Order I would ask that a warrant of arrest be issued for the head of the NPA, and she would remain in the cells until such time as the order is complied with. It would focus their minds. It would also focus the minds of SARS who are also guilty of failing to comply with Court Orders plus the Municipalities and Government Departments. It will stop this one law for us and another law for the rest attitude.

  • Jeanette Heasman - 2012-07-25 21:58

    Lets face it...facts are facts and justice will be served, crime does NOT pay, when will people learn...regardless how 'great' the advocates the end of the day you must pay for your crimes!

  • bernard.vorster.5 - 2012-07-25 22:08

    1)The fact is, that nothing has been deleted after she was suspended.Indicating she was truthfull 2)Is their a rule or policy which state how the asset and information must be handled? 3)and how was that rule applied? 3) Did she knows about it and was she informed about it? 4) Is their a regulation/policy regarding personal stuff. Was the information classified and if does it state how it must be handled ... 5) The flat rental ?? What a joke! What about all the people who own shares or has inherit money /property? It looks more that mrs Breytenbach is in fact victimised and this case will give the excact evidence for her to use..

  • Theo Ferreira - 2012-07-25 22:44

    So Zuma admits to adultery and becomes President of South Africa, this attorney rents out her flat and is fired because she is running a business outside of work. And no mention so far of anything wrong regarding her work on the original and actual complaint on record. I want whatever "they" are smoking.

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