NPA to challenge Breytenbach finding in court

"The findings are factually incorrect and legally unsustainable," National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Nomilo Mpondo said on Tuesday. 

"The findings have serious implications on the enforcement of discipline in the NPA and will elevate insubordination, disobedience and unethical conduct into acceptable practice in the workplace, something which goes against employment law in our constitutional state."

As a result, it had decided to take the findings on review to court "without undue delay".

"The court will be asked to review and set aside the findings and replace them with a finding of guilty against Ms Breytenbach. In these circumstances, the court process should be respected and allowed to take its course," Mpondo said.

On Monday, Breytenbach was found not guilty on 15 counts by a disciplinary hearing which sat at the NPA's head office in Pretoria.

"The guilt of the employee on this plethora of charges has not been established," the hearing's chairperson Selby Mbenenge SC said.

Core charge
Breytenbach was also found not guilty on any of the alternative charges. A core charge against the anti-graft prosecutor was failing to act impartially when investigating the Kumba Iron Ore/Sishen and Imperial Crown Trading mining rights issue, because of "improper relations" with Sishen's lawyer Mike Hellens. 

Other charges included "surreptitiously leaking" NPA inside information to Beeld journalist Sonja Carstens, giving her official NPA laptop to her lawyer and "maligning" the NPA in the media.

Breytenbach was suspended from the NPA on April 30 2012. She claimed acting national director of public prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba suspended her to stop her from prosecuting former police crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli on fraud and other charges.

In March, a parallel arbitration hearing at the Public Service Bargaining Council, in Centurion, found Breytenbach's suspension was both procedurally and substantively fair. Her lawyer Gerhard Wagenaar said it was still being considered whether to review or appeal this decision. – Sapa


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