‘Breytenbach leaked info to media’Comment on this story
Pretoria - Suspended NPA prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach leaked information to the media, a witness told her disciplinary hearing in Pretoria on Wednesday.
“During the analysis of the e-mails we stumbled upon e-mails between advocate Breytenbach and Sonja Carstens... in which they (have) had various interactions since 2007,” National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) official Hercules Wasserman said.
His team found a number of e-mails between Breytenbach and Carstens, a reporter at Beeld, that indicated something other than a professional relationship, he said.
This was in breach of NPA policies, which prohibited employees from speaking to the media.
Wasserman is acting senior manager of the NPA's integrity management unit.
He said that on April 30, the day Breytenbach was suspended as regional head of the specialised commercial crime unit, she had allegedly said to an NPA employee: “Sonja Carstens wants to know: are you guys are going to suspend me or not?”
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.
This related to a dispute between ICT and Sishen/Kumba Iron Ore over mining rights, which Breytenbach investigated.
Breytenbach has pleaded not guilty to 16 charges brought against her by the NPA at the hearing at its offices in Silverton.
The NPA alleges that Breytenbach failed to act impartially in favouring Sishen over ICT in her probe, and that she had an improper relationship with Hellens.
Kumba claimed that ICT, a politically connected company with shareholders that include President Jacob Zuma's son Duduzane, forged its application for prospecting rights of iron ore at Sishen.
She is also 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.
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.
She is also charged with performing work outside the NPA; she allegedly rented out a flat and ran a horse stabling business.
On July 18, 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 High Court in Pretoria on June 6, to Freedom Under Law - that he be suspended and not be allowed to do police work. - The hearing continues