Are the knives out for Mdluli’s opponents?

2013-09-01 14:00

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Zuma’s disgraced intelligence boss appears to be set for a comeback

A fierce battle is raging for supremacy in the highest echelons of the police as investigators close in on a top Hawks general who played a leading role in investigating disgraced crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.

City Press has confirmed from six sources that the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) is probing Gauteng Hawks boss Major General Shadrack Sibiya for the alleged illegal rendition of Zimbabwean citizens, theft, assault and an allegedly improper relationship with a disgraced Pretoria lawyer and fraud accused.

Sibiya loyalists see the raft of investigations as another move to purge the police force of those perceived as opposing Mdluli.

Mdluli is seen as a confidant of President Jacob Zuma and, prior to his suspension, controversially penned an “intelligence” report naming top politicians and other key players in an anti-Zuma conspiracy.

Sibiya is a potential candidate to be the national head of the Hawks and his allies believe the move against him is to ruin his chances of being appointed.

Sources say Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba, who was until Friday the acting head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), has pressed Ipid for the probe against Sibiya. City Press understands Jiba initiated the investigation and offered two senior state prosecutors to Ipid to speed it up.

A team of Ipid investigators this week started taking statements from Hawks police personnel and potential witnesses around the country.

Sibiya was initially in charge of the murder, fraud and corruption investigation against Mdluli until a Hawks team was brought in from the Western Cape to pursue the charges.

Meanwhile, all charges against Mdluli have been withdrawn and he is apparently waiting in the wings to make his comeback as Zuma’s top crime fighter.

Papers before the Johannesburg Labour Court in 2008 revealed an intimate working relationship between Mdluli and Jiba.

Jiba has, according to evidence in the departmental hearing of top NPA prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach, refused to prosecute Mdluli for fraud and corruption.

As investigators move in on Sibiya, it has emerged that in 2012 Ipid conducted an investigation into the illegal rendition of Zimbabwean citizens, and cleared both Sibiya and Hawks head Anwa Dramat.

Dramat’s post, who is also viewed as an Mdluli opponent because of his support for the two Hawks investigators who probed the crime intelligence boss and the looting of the unit’s secret fund, was advertised earlier this month.

According to insiders, he has informed senior Hawks investigators he will not reapply for his post.

Another victim of the anti-Mdluli purge appears to be Gauteng police boss Lieutenant General Mzwandile Petros, one of the country’s most respected cops, credited for bringing down the crime rate in the province.

In 2012, Mdluli claimed in a letter to Zuma and Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa he was the victim of conspiracies by police top brass who wanted him out because he was seen to be a “Zuma man”. He named both Petros and Dramat as part of these conspiracies. Petros announced his resignation late last week after his contract ended.

The main charge being investigated against Sibiya is the alleged rendition of three Zimbabweans back to that country in November 2010.

According to an earlier Sunday Times report, some of the Zimbabweans were killed once the Hawks handed them to their counterparts across the border.

Dramat was implicated in the Sunday Times report, but later court evidence by Hawks investigators suggested the story was planted to discredit him.

The theft charge apparently relates to R10 000 Sibiya borrowed and failed to repay. City Press sources have described the charges as ridiculous.

Sibiya is also accused of assaulting a crime intelligence policeman at the Boksburg Magistrates’ Court in 2011 when Mdluli appeared in court on the murder charge. The policeman was dressed in civilian clothes and was taking photographs of Sibiya and his investigators.

The general confronted the policeman, who now claims Sibiya pushed him around.

Last month, disgraced Pretoria attorney Peet Viljoen made an affidavit in which he claimed that controversial Johannesburg property tycoon Zunaid Moti was using Sibiya as his “personal bodyguard” and the Hawks as his “own mafia”.

Viljoen is on trial for fraud, has lost his licence to practise as an attorney and has been sequestrated. There are new charges against him for allegedly harassing a private investigator, journalists, politicians and Sibiya.

Viljoen made the claims in an affidavit after Sibiya refused to meddle in charges that the former lawyer faces.

Ipid spokeperson Moses Dlamini confirmed they were investigating allegations of renditions and assault against Sibiya and other police officers.

“The investigation is still ongoing and I cannot comment further without jeopardising it,” said Dlamini.

He said it was normal for their investigators to consult with the NPA on cases.

“Such consultation is not unique to this case and would not be for speeding up the investigation as prosecutors play a different role to that of investigators.”

The police did not respond to numerous requests for comment.

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