Monday, August 6, 2012

Angry confrontation at NPA

Angry confrontation at NPA
SIPHO MASOMBUKA | 07 August, 2012 00:09

Glynnis Breytenbach leaves court. File photo.
A fist fight almost broke out when National Prosecuting Authority officials tried to confiscate the laptop computer of one of their colleagues, prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach, according to witnesses at her disciplinary hearing yesterday.
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EmailPrintYesterday's session dealt with the deletion of files on Breytenbach's laptop.

Breytenbach has been hauled before an NPA internal disciplinary hearing because of alleged transgressions in her handling of the mining rights dispute between Sishen and Kumba Iron Ore, and ICT.

She is facing 15 counts of insubordination and improper conduct.

Breytenbach, the head prosecutor of the specialised crimes court, contends that she was suspended to scupper her prosecution of former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.

NPA witnesses described a very "tense" situation that was on the brink of developing into a fist fight when NPA officials tried to take Breytenbach's work laptop from her.

NPA risk management specialist Khaya Xaba said he was told to give Breytenbach a letter of suspension on April 30, and to reclaim her laptop, which was NPA property. Xaba said Breytenbach's attorney, Gerhard Wagenaar, became "very aggressive" when he tried to carry out his instructions.

"I realised that we would have got into a fist fight if I insisted on taking the laptop."

He said Wagenaar told him Breytenbach's personal files on the computer would have to be deleted before it could be handed over.

"The intention was to delete all the information on the laptop," Xaba claimed.

The laptop was eventually handed to him in a parking area at Wagenaar's offices on May 2.

Describing a tense tussle for the laptop, "which could easily have developed into a fist fight", NPA IT specialist Eudele Swarts said he had gone to Breytenbach's office to back-up and upgrade her computer. He said that when he arrived the laptop had been dismantled and Breytenbach's IT technician, Phillip Otto, was copying its hard drive onto an external hard drive.

"I could not do the back-up or upgrading as the laptop had to be intact for me to do so," Swarts said.

He said an attempt was made to load a document-shredding programme onto the laptop but Otto had not been able to do this because he did not have an administrator's password.

Jaco Venter, hired by the NPA to conduct a forensic analysis of Breytenbach's laptop, told the hearing that a "high security" programme was used to shred 13 folders containing 580 files from Breytenbach's hard drive on May 2.

He said a folder named "Kumba ICT", containing nine files, was "shredded".

Venter said 41 deleted files could be retrieved.

However, in his testimony, he conceded that there was no evidence to suggest that the deletions were sinister in nature.

Asked by prosecutor William Mokhari why someone would shred information instead of simply deleting it, Venter replied "the intention is to get rid of the information forever".

Breytenbach's advocate, Wim Trengove, poked holes in Venter's testimony, saying that the defence was not denying that files were deleted, only that the deleted files were personal files not relevant to the NPA.

Trengrove said there were errors in Venter's report.

He said that in his report Venter said that files were shredded on April 30 whereas the date was May 2.

Venter conceded the error.

"I am asking, how much care was taken in compiling the report," said Trengove.

Venter said he was given backup files retrieved from the NPA computer server to compare with shredded files on Breytenbach's computer. Trengove accused him of having no regard for privacy because Breytenbach might well have been giving legal advice to a friend.

Legal brawl behind Kumba complaint
2012-05-06 10:00

Adriaan Basson
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) insisted this week that the suspension of Advocate Glynnis Breytenbach was not related to the Richard Mdluli matter.

Instead, Breytenbach was suspended for allegedly abusing her powers in the matter of mining companies Kumba and Imperial Crown Trading (ICT).

But Breytenbach’s supporters argue that the timing of her suspension is suspicious.

On April 24, she handed a memorandum to acting NPA boss Nomgcobo Jiba requesting a review of the decision not to prosecute Mdluli. On Monday, six days later, she was suspended.

But her letter of suspension was backdated to April 23 – the day before she handed her memorandum to Jiba. And, reported Beeld newspaper, she saw Jiba and other senior employees in the week of April 23, so there was no reason they couldn’t suspend her then.

Breytenbach’s role in the Kumba matter is explained in court papers filed at the Kimberley High Court.

Kumba claims that ICT, a politically connected company with shareholders that include President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe’s partner, Gugu Mtshali, forged its application for prospecting rights of iron ore at Sishen.

The department of mineral resources then laid a charge against Kumba, accusing it of forging ICT’s application.

ICT accuses Breytenbach and the Hawks of investigating only Kumba’s complaint against them and of having an improper relationship with Kumba’s counsel, Mike Hellens SC.

Kumba appointed Hellens on a watching brief.

However, says ICT, he has become intimately involved in the criminal case.

Breytenbach doesn’t deny that Hellens assisted her and the Hawks in drafting search and seizure warrants, but she says this is not unusual.

ICT also complained to the NPA that Breytenbach and Hellens were sitting together at court when the matter was heard.

Two advocates who spoke to City Press said the matter had an additional dimension: a feud between Hellens and ICT’s advocate, Edmund Wessels.

Wessels and Advocate Sita Kolbe SC laid charges against Hellens with the Johannesburg Bar Council in 2009 after Hellens was appointed to lead an NPA prosecution.

The Pretoria High Court ruled that Hellens couldn’t continue as prosecutor because of a perceived conflict of interest.

Kolbe and Wessels were appointed in his place.

They then reported him to the Bar, which found he had done nothing wrong.

“I have no doubt that this complaint (against Breytenbach) is more about Wessels and Hellens,” said one advocate.

Breytenbach’s lawyer, Gerhard Wagenaar, wrote to the NPA this week requesting more details on how she allegedly abused her powers.

- City Press

Read more on: hawks | national prosecuting authority (npa) | richard mdluli | glynnis breytenbach | abused power


Author: Janice Roberts|
13 February 2012 11:26
DA wants DMR probed after Kumba, ICT 'debacle'

Says new allegations of corruption around the issue continue to emerge.

Johannesburg, Feb 13 (I-Net Bridge) - The opposition Democratic Alliance is calling for a probe into the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), following its handling of "the mineral rights debacle involving Kumba and Imperial Crown Trading (ICT)".

The DA's Shadow Minister of Mining James Lorimer said new allegations of corruption around the issue continued to emerge.

"I will be writing to President Jacob Zuma to call on him to request a Special Investigating Unit (SIU) enquiry into the DMR," Lorimer added.

He said the scale of accusations of corruption by officials of the DMR was "quite alarming".

"At the centre of all of this is ICT, a company with links to a son of the president and the partner of the deputy president."

Lorimer said it was vital that the highest offices in the land be freed from all taint of corruption and cronyism.

"This can only realistically be achieved by an SIU investigation which will carry the necessary weight to achieve a credible result."

Failure to restore the credibility of the department or of the presidency would simply add to investors' reluctance to put their money into SA's mining industry, which should be the key driver of the country's economic growth.

New allegations by a legal consultant with knowledge of the DMR's dealings were reported on last week.

They included the allegation that ICT chief executive Phemelo Sehunelo allegedly paid a bribe of R250,000 to Charles Lerumo, the DMR's Northern Cape assistant director of mineral laws, to facilitate the acceptance of ICT's application for a 21.4% undivided share in an old order mining right which had not been converted to a new order right by ArcelorMittal.

Lerumo allegedly kept R150,000 and passed R100,000 on to Thozama Basi, the department's Northern Cape assistant director of social and labour plans.

Basi, who took possession of Kumba's application on April 30, 2009, allegedly made copies of documents such as title deeds from this application during the subsequent long weekend. She then handed these copies to Sehunelo.

"There is evidence that ICT's application was incomplete and unsigned at the time it was purportedly captured on the department's computer systems on May 4, 2009," Lorimer said.

"Lerumo saw to the capturing of ICT's application on May 4, even though the ICT application was in fact only signed on May 5 that year. This is significant, as Kumba's application was also registered on May 4 and legislation promotes a "first past the post" approach to competing applications."

He added that the Special Investigating Units and Special Tribunals Act No 74 of 1996 was constructed "for the purpose of investigating serious malpractices or maladministration in connection with the administration of state institutions".

He stressed that if the allegations were indeed true, the grounds for an investigation had certainly been fulfilled.

"The Democratic Alliance therefore urges the president to act on this request

immediately," Lorimer said.



Hawks raid DMR offices
Amsa sees Sishen arbitration in 2012
ArcelorMittal SA back in the black
Amsa sees Sishen arbitration in 2012
Kumba earnings up on export prices
Court sends Hawks law back to parliament

Johannesburg - The Hawks, which is investigating possible fraudulent mining permits, on Wednesday raided the mines department and a company linked to a dispute between one of the world’s biggest mining companies and steel giant ArcelorMittal SA [JSE:ACL].

Macintosh Polela, spokesperson for the Hawks, said the raids centered on the government’s mining department in Pretoria and its regional offices in Kimberly, which oversees minerals rights in the Northern Cape.

“The allegations are that they were involved in the fraudulent issuing of prospecting rights,” Polela said.

The police raid is the latest twist in a saga that has dented investor confidence in the key sector.

Police also hit the offices of Imperial Crown Trading, a little-known company with no experience in mining which has become a household name in South African financial circles after becoming embroiled in a dispute between the local unit of global steel giant ArcelorMittal and Kumba Iron Ore, a subsidiary of mining giant Anglo American.

The spat started when ArcelorMittal’s mining rights at Kumba’s giant Sishen iron ore mine in the Northern Cape lapsed in 2009 and ICT was awarded prospecting rights to the same piece of land - even though mining has been going on there for years.

ArcelorMittal said in August in would buy ICT for R800m, effectively to gain control once again of its lost slice of the mine.

The deal sparked furious allegations of corruption in the mining ministry because it also involved the transfer of a quarter the steel-maker’s shares to black investors, including ICT and an investment group led by the son of President Jacob Zuma.
Read more about:
dmr | arcelor mittal | hawks | mining rights | mining industry

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