‘Mdluli’ inquest gets under way

2012-04-10 11:32

An inquest into the 1999 murder of Oupa Ramogibe, of which controversial police spy boss Richard Mdluli until recently stood accused, this morning began in the Boksburg Magistrates Court.

Mdluli’s lawyer, Ike Motloung, initially attempted to ask the court for a postponement, but Magistrate Jurg Viviers said the matter would proceed because “justice delayed is justice denied”.

Viviers said the rights of Ramogibe’s family had to be balanced against the rights of the “so-called suspects”.

“If we postpone now, nobody knows what to expect,” he said.

Hawks investigating officer Kobus Roelofse began testifying shortly afterward about his investigation into Mdluli and former co-accused Colonel Nkosana Ximba, Lieutenant-Colonel Omhle Mtunzi and court orderly Samuel Dlomo.

He gave details of allegations made by Ramogibe’s family that Mdluli and the former co-accused had been intimidating them in an apparent effort to get Ramogibe to stop seeing Tshidi Buthelezi.

Buthelezi had been in a relationship with Mdluli but she married Ramogibe in mid-1998.

Ramogibe and Buthelezi subsequently fled to Orange Farm in an attempt to escape Mdluli, said Roelofse.

The inquest follows a decision by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to drop the murder charge against Mdluli in February this year.

The withdrawal of the murder charges, as well as a separate fraud and corruption investigation into Mdluli, have sparked controversy amid allegations that there may have been political interference in the dropping of the charges.

The other case against Mdluli relates to his alleged abuse of the police’s covert crime intelligence fund, as well as the appointment of friends and family within crime intelligence.

Two weeks ago City Press reported that acting police commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi was ready to resign over allegations that he had been instructed by Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to lift Mdluli’s suspension.

Viviers said the purpose of the inquest was to determine what the cause of Ramogibe’s death was, and if somebody was guilty in that respect, to ensure that “the guilt did not remain hidden”.

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