Monday, April 30, 2012

Suspended anti-corruption prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach was shot at three weeks ago while driving home.

Mdluli prosecutor shot at
2012-04-30 18:33

Related LinksNPA suspends Mdluli prosecutor
NPA defends silence on prosecutor saga
NPA denies meddling in Mdluli case

Adriaan Basson, City Press
Johannesburg - Suspended anti-corruption prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach was shot at three weeks ago while driving home.

Breytenbach, who prosecuted crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli until the case was withdrawn by her superiors in December, was suspended by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) this morning.

She told City Press she is convinced the shooting was related to her work.

"I have been followed for some time. It happened late in the evening of April 11 on the N14 while I was driving home. Two shots were fired, but both missed."

Breytenbach said she was still being followed. She reported the shooting to the Hawks.

Force her off the road

Last Wednesday morning two BMW motorcycles tried to force her off the road while she was driving home from the gym.

"A metro police car came by and they backed off," she said.

Breytenbach is the head of the Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit in Pretoria.

Apart from the Mdluli matter, she was also working on the arms deal investigation and on a mining rights case involving Kumba and politically connected Imperial Crown Trading (ICT).

Her lawyer Gerhard Wagenaar confirmed her suspension by acting NPA head Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba on Monday, saying the official reason given by the NPA was that his client allegedly abused her powers in the Kumba fraud case.

Breytenbach was the prosecutor in a case concerning the awarding of mining rights at Sishen to ICT. Kumba subsequently laid a charge of fraud against ICT, and Breytenbach was appointed as prosecutor.

Red herring

ICT's directors and legal representatives subsequently complained to the NPA that Breytenbach was seen as being too close to Kumba and its legal representatives.

Breytenbach denies any wrongdoing.

Her supporters in and outside the NPA believe the Kumba complaint is a red herring and that her persistence to prosecute Mdluli led to her suspension by her bosses in the NPA.

NPA spokesperson Bulelwa Makeke confirmed Breytenbach's suspension. "She has been provided with reasons for her suspension after she was given more than enough time to respond.

"The next step will be an internal disciplinary hearing where all allegations will be addressed substantively."

The NPA denied that Breytenbach's suspension was linked to her insistence that the Mdluli case continued.

Last week, Breytenbach provided Jiba with a memorandum, outlining her reasons why the Mdluli case should never have been withdrawn.

- City Press

Read more on: npa | glynnis breytenbach | richard mdluli | crime


Fighting White Collar Crime in South Africa

South Africa | Democracy | 2005

By her second year in law school Glynnis Breytenbach knew she wanted to be a prosecutor. A sturdy daughter of rural Free State, South Africa, she entered the prosecutorial service in Johannesburg in 1987 prosecuting check scams. By 1990 she was prosecuting commercial crimes.

A witness gives testimony at the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court December 9, 2004.

Photo Credit: Sesana Mokoana/USAID

Crime rates surged after apartheid's authoritarian controls were lifted and South Africa became a major destination for crime syndicates that prey on businesses. By 2000 commercial crime was siphoning $6 billion a year from the economy. The South African government began fighting back with laws and crime-fighting institutions adapted from international best practices. President Thabo Mbeki established a Specialized Commercial Crime Court and Prosecuting Unit in Pretoria. The Department of Justice (DOJ) provided permanently assigned magistrates and prosecutors, while the commercial crimes branch of the police assigned permanent investigators. The "Unit," as Breytenbach calls it, had almost no budget when it opened its doors in 1999.

USAID and Business Against Crime (BAC), an association of major South African corporations, stepped in. USAID trained South African prosecutors in financial crime trial skills that Breytenbach describes as "particularly beneficial." BAC refurbished needed office space in downtown Pretoria, converted an underground parking lot into courtrooms and a holding cell, and set up a computerized caseload management system.

Today the Specialized Commercial Crime Court and Prosecuting Unit in Pretoria is a busy place. Police investigators and prosecutors work under common guidelines and in the same office space—"co-location" as it is called. When charges of a commercial crime are reported, the police determine whether it is of sufficient complexity for the Unit. When a docket is opened in the Unit, the senior superintendent of the commercial crimes branch of the police assigns an investigator. Breytenbach, the deputy director of the Unit, assigns a prosecutor. Within 14 days the prosecutor must contact the investigator, according to the guidelines. "Most of the investigators are men," says Breytenbach. "Most of the prosecutors are women." When possible, pairings are made to transfer skills.

The use of computerized "case plan documents" improves case flow management and ensures each docket will contain everything needed for trial. "By the time a docket is ready," says Breytenbach, "even though it's likely a yard thick, the prosecutor knows everything in there." Volume is high. At any point in time each investigator is handling 30 cases and each prosecutor double that amount. During a 12 month period from 2003 to 2004, the court adjudicated 283 cases, with only 15 acquittals, a 95 percent conviction rate. A major reason for the high conviction rate is the use of plea bargaining. Prosecutors from the Unit are always well prepared and the magistrates are highly knowledgeable, and so 40 percent of the accused plea bargain.

Breytenbach's team does not shy away from the rich or powerful. One trio of stock brokers was hit hard with 5,256 counts of fraud involving $4 million. Breytenbach's team has successfully prosecuted senior members of parliament and senior police officials. Building on this success, the DOJ has opened additional courts in Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, and Durban. All four courts maintain conviction rates of over 90 percent. Breytenbach smiles when her visitors ask her to account for the Unit's success. "Co-location, good case planning, and high retention," she says, her green eyes shining with pride. She should have added hard work, because her staff works 16 hours a day. "We are seeing a deterrence effect," she says. "Once we get a sufficient number of higher skilled prosecutors, in five to ten years, white collar crime will be under control."


Advocates shocked at action against prosecutor
2012-02-06 12:33

Related Links
NPA denies Mdluli, Breytenbach link
Arms deal prosecutor 'not yet suspended'
Prosecutor 'refused to stop probe'

Johannesburg - Former National Director of Public Prosecutions Vusi Pikoli and other senior advocates have expressed shock at the disciplinary action against prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach, according to a report on Monday.

"The disciplinary investigation against her is a huge shock and a surprise," Pikoli told Beeld newspaper, adding that he knew her as a fearless, dedicated and extremely competent prosecutor.

Breytenbach had found herself at the centre of controversy since last week, when the National Prosecuting Authority notified her she had to provide the organisation with reasons by Tuesday why she should not be suspended.

She is alleged to have abused her power in the investigation into a fraud charge laid by iron ore mining company Kumba against Imperial Crown Trading.

The NPA has denied a link between the possible suspension of Breytenbach, deputy director of the specialised commercial crimes unit in Gauteng, and the dropping of charges against suspended crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.

‘Lack of competence in the NPA’

Advocate Jan Henning, NPA former deputy director, described the action against her as a low point in the body's history.

"If the motives for the actions against her are less than pure, the process has to be halted, for the sake of the justice system, the morale of prosecutors and the image of the NPA," he told Beeld.

According to another former NPA deputy head, Jan D'Oliveira, Breytenbach was an experienced prosecutor who would never undermine the Constitution.

"There is a total lack of competence in the NPA, where decisions are being made by people occupying senior posts, who actually have no experience prosecuting cases from the lowest to the highest courts, or giving guidance to subordinates," he was quoted as saying by Beeld.

The NPA stated last week it regarded the investigation against Breytenbach as an internal issue.

NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said they would not entertain questions about reports that Breytenbach was told to stop work on the fraud investigation involving Imperial Crown Trading's allegedly falsifying a prospecting licence.

It was reported last week that Breytenbach carried on with the investigation regardless of the order.


Read more on: npa | vusi pikoli | judiciary

No comments:

Post a Comment