Jiba must explain herself says Breytenbach lawyer

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They want to force her to answer questions on why she suspended Breytenbach and whether the suspension was to protect controversial crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.

Breytenbach‚ now a Democratic Alliance MP‚ believes she was suspended in 2012 over her insistence that Mdluli be prosecuted for fraud and corruption.

Breytenbach is on trial‚ along with her former lawyer‚ Gerhard Wagenaar‚ in the Pretoria North Magistrate’s Court on charges of defeating the ends of justice and contravening the National Prosecuting Act.

The two‚ who were in court on Wednesday‚ have been accused of deleting documents from Breytenbach’s work laptop in 2012 while she was employed by the National Prosecuting Authority.

She also faced charges for alleged improper conduct while prosecuting a mining rights case.

She was subjected to an internal disciplinary hearing but found not guilty of the 15 charges which were brought against her.

Breytenbach was also under investigation by the Hawks for allegedly obstructing and defeating the ends of justice.

The Pretoria High Court last year removed Jiba‚ along with her colleague‚ Lawrence Mrwebi‚ from the national roll of advocates.

The pair were sanctioned for the way they handled the fraud and corruption case against Mdluli.

For hours on Wednesday‚ state prosecutor Raymond Mathenjwa‚ argued that it would not be in the interest of justice for Jiba to appear in court.

“They are inferences without proof. Why do they want her [Jiba] on the stand. All she will say is what has already been said by witnesses‚” Mathenjwa said.

He said the defence had raised issues with Jiba’s authority to sign Breytenbach’s suspension letter and the time it took to actually suspend her.

“Yes it was weeks later‚ but that is a decision management is entitled to take. The timeframe has nothing to do with this case.” He said to have Jiba on the stand would create the wrong perception because Jiba was authorised to make the decision.

But‚ Breytenbach’s advocate‚ Barry Roux‚ argued that there was more to the letter than met the eye.

“The Justice Minister has the executive power to delegate managers within the NPA to do things. In this case who did he delegate? There is no evidence that it was Jiba.”

He said what was perplexing was why the prosecution did not want to have Jiba testify.

“We need to understand this because what better person to testify than the author of the suspension letter. She can say exactly why she did what she did and on whose authority.”

Roux said it came down to the right to a fair trial.

“It’s in the interest of justice.”

He said it was important for the court to ask whether the matter was truly about suspension or an attempt to get rid of someone.

The case was adjourned until Thursday.

TMG Digital/TimesLIVE

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