TWO of the counts that suspended senior prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach faces are not only trivial nonsense but were trumped up charges designed to get rid of her, the disciplinary hearing in her case heard on Friday.
Ms Breytenbach's advocate, Wim Trengove SC, was referring to two of the 15 counts on the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) charge sheet, accusing her of not declaring her registrable interests and of engaging in remunerative work outside the NPA.
The NPA formulated these charges after its integrity management unit found an application for vehicle finance dated March 2009 in her e-mail inbox. In that application, Ms Breytenbach listed other income from renting a flat and stabling a horse.
The counts said she was obliged to disclose those interests to the NPA as required by public service regulations. The counts also stated she was required to get permission for remunerative work outside the NPA.
Mr Trengove told the unit's acting senior manager, Hercules Wasserman, that Ms Breytenbach owned the flat before moving out to live on a smallholding and she then rented out the flat.
He said she stabled the horse for the son of a friend between 2008 and early 2010. Mr Trengove said she received R1000 a month as a contribution to the stabling costs, which amounted to R2500 a month.
Mr Trengove said public service regulations only required employees to declare financial interests from shares in public and private companies and did not include income received from rentals.
Mr Wasserman agreed with Mr Trengove that stabling a horse would not constitute remunerative work.
"I want to suggest to you that not only are these counts unfounded, but they are symptomatic of the NPA's approach in this inquiry. The charge is based on one line of the credit application. This was an abuse of access you had to her communication," Trengove said.
Mr Wasserman replied that he did not abuse access to Ms Breytenbach's communication.
Mr Trengove said the fact that the NPA had used the one line in her credit application to formulate two counts without investigating the facts was symptomatic of the zeal with which the NPA wanted to charge her.
Mr Wasserman disagreed.
"These charges are trivial nonsense," Mr Trengove said. "They are trumped up charges designed to get rid of Adv Breytenbach."
He also said the NPA had attempted to charge her on those two counts behind closed doors while claiming to the public that it was dealing with her alleged improper conduct related to her handling of the Sishen complaint against Imperial Crown Trading.
Mr Wasserman has completed his testimony.
The NPA claims that between September 2010 and February this year, Ms Breytenbach colluded with legal counsel of Kumba Iron Ore and Sishen mine to exert improper influence over a criminal investigation against Imperial Crown Trading (ICT).
Ms Breytenbach also claimed that she was being victimised and filed a Labour Court application in which she contended that the acting national director of public prosecutions, Nomgcobo Jiba, suspended her in an attempt to protect former intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.
The disciplinary hearing continues on Friday.