Suspended ICD head allowed a lawyer

2009-12-10 00:00

THE suspended head of the Independent Complaints Directorate in KwaZulu-Natal, Tabiso Ralo, who faces a disciplinary inquiry as a consequence of her inquiries into corruption at Mountain Rise police station, can now appoint an attorney to represent her.

A high court application by Ralo to force the chair of the inquiry and the minister of police to allow her to be legally represented was settled by agreement yesterday.

Earlier rulings made by commissioners Zarina Walale and Karyn Charles disallowing Ralo to be legally represented have been set aside. However, the inquiry will resume from where it left off on June 10 this year.

Transcripts of evidence are to be made available to her; the ICD has undertaken to pay “reasonable and fair” costs for the court application and make a 50% contribution to Ralo’s legal fees up to October 8.

It is stipulated that there is no admission made regarding liability, or the accuracy of any of the allegations in the court papers.

Ralo must keep the agreement confidential.

Ralo alleged in her affidavit that she is being victimised because of her investigations, which revealed serious fraud at Mountain Rise police station, and that “promises” had been made to some station commissioners (including those of Margate and other police stations) by the provincial commissioner (Hamilton Ngidi) giving them “preferential treatment”.

Ralo said she began investigating Mountain Rise in November last year based on anonymous tip-offs that dockets were not being registered on the CAS system.

The effect would be to create an impression that crime had been reduced in the area, and pave the way for policemen to solicit bribes to ensure that dockets were not registered.

Ralo said she received photographs showing dockets stored at the station without being registered, and was given a black plastic bag filled with almost 300 dockets due to be shredded.

Ralo said she and her superiors (Thomas Tshabalala and Elias Valoyi) authorised a raid on Mountain Rise on November 13 last year, during which her suspicions were confirmed.

She alleges that two weeks after the raid her car was broken into and her laptop and documents were stolen. This was investigated by a provincial task team, but subsequently her seniors questioned whether the theft had in fact occurred. She claims this is another attempt to tarnish her reputation.

She also alleges her report about the raid was changed to indicate that she alone conducted the investigation, when it was a joint decision.

Some of the findings at Mountain Rise were that officers were running a kitchen at the rear and charging the state to feed prisoners; that policemen were charging about R4 000 to renew firearm licences; that accident reports were being “doctored” and used to lodge Road Accident Fund claims; and that state funding was used to “finance a senior officer” whose lifestyle obviously did not correspond with the income he earned.

Ralo claims she was approached by the former station commissioner, Harriram Badul (who now faces theft charges), who wanted to “resolve” the dispute.

Tshabalala had asked her to return dockets to the station, which she refused to do, she said.

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