By Gillian Jones
Suspended NPA prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach pleaded not guilty to the 16 charges against her at the start of her disciplinary hearing in Pretoria on Tuesday (24/07/2012).
William Mokhari, counsel for the National Prosecuting Authority, read out the charges which relate to Breytenbach’s conduct when investigating the Sishen/Kumba Iron Ore and Imperial Crown Trading (ICT) mining rights dispute.
The NPA alleges Breytenbach acted impartially in favouring Sishen over ICT in her probe.
She was also charged with gross insubordination and improper conduct for allegedly not handing over her work laptop to the NPA, and for having information deleted from it.
Other charges relate to Breytenbach bringing the NPA into disrepute by speaking to the media, either directly or via her attorney, without authorisation.
She also 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.
Mokhari said she made these allegations "when you knew that in actual fact your suspension related to your conduct in the Kumba/ICT matter”.
Breytenbach is also charged with performing work outside the NPA.
Following the reading of the charges, witness Hercules Wasserman, acting senior manager of the NPA’s integrity management unit, took the stand at the NPA offices in Silverton.
Breytenbach was suspended on April 30 as regional head of the specialised commercial crime unit.
On July 18 the Johannesburg Labour Court dismissed Breytenbach’s challenge against her suspension.
"The applicant has not shown the existence of any extraordinary or compelling, urgent circumstances to justify a final declaration of the unlawfulness of her suspension,” Judge Hamilton Cele said in his judgment.
Cele said there were "reasonable prospects” that her disciplinary hearing would be finalised within a reasonable time period.
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These charges led to his initial suspension, but they were withdrawn and he was reinstated, before being suspended again in May this year by then acting police commissioner, Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi.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 his suspension in the Johannesburg Labour Court, but it decided he should remain suspended until he had also filed an application for leave to appeal an interim order — granted in the North Gauteng High Court on June 6, to Freedom Under Law (FUL) — that he be suspended and not be allowed to do police work. - Sapa