Breytenbach infuriated by boss’s ‘bizarre’ decision on Mdluli
Senior prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach has called the NPA’s instruction to withdraw charges against suspended crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli “bizarre”.
In one of the few moments during which Breytenbach’s fiery disposition shone through her mostly composed testimony, she said the decision had left her “incensed”.
The instruction came from the NPA’s special commercialised crimes unit head Lawrence Mrwebi.
Mrwebi sent Breytenbach a memorandum which said the charges were to be withdrawn because the investigation was the sole preserve of the Inspector-General of Intelligence (IGI).
“I’d expected him to withdraw the matter so he hadn’t disappointed me on that score, but I thought his reasoning was bizarre,” said Breytenbach.
Breytenbach has consistently maintained throughout her hearing that she was removed from her position in order to protect Mdluli from prosecution.
Breytenbach testified that she’d immediately gone to see Gauteng Provincial Director of Public Prosecutions Sibongile Mzinyathi after she’d “calmed down sufficiently to act rationally”.
“(Mzinyathi) was equally upset that he had been circumvented,” said Breytenbach.
Advocate Wim Trengove, Breytenbach’s lawyer, led evidence to the effect that, according to the National Prosecuting Authority Act, Mrwebi could only issue this instruction in agreement with the provincial director of public prosecutions, which was Mzinyathi.
Breytenbach testified that she asked Mzinyathi if this had happened, but he told her Mrwebi had only “mentioned in passing” that he was considering withdrawing the charges.
“Mzinyathi said he did not consider that consultation by any stretch of the imagination,” testified Breytenbach.
Mrwebi’s instruction to withdraw the charges, which was dated December 4 2011, also noted that he “agreed” with representations Mdluli’s lawyer had made to him, namely that the case against Mdluli was weak.
A letter informing Mdluli’s lawyers that the charges had been withdrawn was sent to them on the same day.
Asked by Trengove if the reason Mrwebi had given for his decision – that the investigation was the sole preserve of the IGI – was advanced by Mdluli’s legal team in their representations, she responded that it wasn’t.
“So it (the reasoning) was entirely the creation of Mr Mrwebi?” asked Trengove, which Breytenbach confirmed.
She testified that she accompanied Mzinyathi and the head of the police’s legal services to a meeting with Advocate Jay Govendor of the IGI, who told them that the IGI “was not competent to suggest to the NPA who to prosecute”.
“I knew (Mrwebi) hadn’t discussed (his decision) with the police and, as far as I could ascertain, he hadn’t discussed it with the IGI either,” said Breytenbach.
Mrwebi has consistenly denied that there was any ulterior motive in his actions.
When Mrwebi testified in the proceedings, he said he felt “hurt and insulted” by the allegations which had been levelled against him.