Pretoria - Suspended senior prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach on Friday hit back at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for the catalogue of charges brought against her.
Breytenbach’s representative, advocate Wim Trengove SC, took her through the list of 15 charges, seeking her responses before her disciplinary hearing at the NPA offices in Silverton, east of Pretoria.
The charges include “surreptitiously leaking” NPA inside information to Beeld journalist Sonja Carstens, giving her official NPA laptop to her lawyer, and failing to disclose all financial interests as required in the public service.
Count number 14 - failure to disclose financial interests - aroused the senior prosecutor’s ire, as Trengove read out the NPA charge sheet stating Breytenbach had not declared a flat in Roodepoort, Johannesburg and also earned undeclared money through a venture of “stabling horses”.
“Count 14 says you earned unauthorised remuneration for outside work, a charge based on the stabling fees for the horses. The essence of the accusation is that you earned remuneration for outside work by earning stabling fees,” he said.
“Completely ludicrous, I earned no remuneration by stabling the horses.
“There must be 80 percent of people in the NPA that own a second home and rent it out,” she said.
Referring to documents from her affidavits, Breytenbach said she had continually declared the Roodepoort flat to the NPA.
Trengove said the disclosure document had been filled on January 12, 2011, after the same disclosure had been previously done. The financial disclosure forms are filled in annually in the NPA.
She was asked by Trengove to explained how she came to own the flat.
“The flat is in Johannesburg, I used to live there when I worked in Johannesburg. When I moved to Pretoria and bought the property I currently live on, I did not sell the flat. I just rented it out, I still do,” she said.
Breytenbach was requested to explain about the horse stabling venture.
“I stabled three horses of my own and one horse for a son of friends of mine. I did not make profit out of it. There was certainly no business, no remuneration for outside work,” she said.
Breytenbach said she had incurred the cost of keeping the horses.
The NPA has also charged Breytenbach for “maligning” the organisation in the media.
She refuted the allegation and told the hearing the media reports had been based on extracts from her Labour Court papers, not interviews or statements she issued.
Regarding the leaking of information to Carstens, Breytenbach said even though the journalist was her friend, she had not shared work information with her. Breytenbach said from experience, Carstens had her own sources within the NPA.
Several e-mails from Carstens were read to the hearing; some of them were addressed to numerous recipients, among them magistrates and prosecutors.
Breytenbach believes she was suspended in April 2012 to stop her from prosecuting controversial former police crime intelligence head Lt-Gen Richard Mdluli, amid suggestions of political interference.
However, the NPA has said her suspension was rather because of her handling of a criminal investigation relating to a mineral rights dispute between mining companies Imperial Crown Trading (ICT) and Kumba Iron Ore, over Kumba's Sishen mine.
The hearing has now moved to Breytenbach’s cross-examination.