‘Third force’ in crime unit

2015-03-16 00:00

A THIRD force in the police’s secretive crime intelligence unit is now being blamed for the fiasco that followed the illegal and fatal extraditions of ­Zimbabweans in 2010, which has torn the Hawks in two.

Lieutenant General Richard Mdluli, the suspended head of the crime intelligence unit, was directly involved in at least one incident involving the alleged third force.

Senior sources in the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) say the leadership and control of the Hawks are at stake in the internal fighting that followed the extraditions.

Hawks head Lieutenant-General ­Anwa Dramat was suspended in ­December and Gauteng’s Major-General ­Shadrack Sibiya followed shortly. Both were suspended for their involvement in the illegal 2010 extraditions.

Sibiya said in court papers — lodged in an attempt to stop his suspension — there was “an agenda” against him because he had investigated Mdluli.

Since then SA’s elite crime fighting units had been in a bitter feud. The latest development in the unfolding drama is that IPID, which had exonerated both ­Dramat and Sibiya in its extraditions ­investigation, has now taken the fight to Police Minister Nathi Nhleko.

IPID head Robert McBride has launched an urgent interdict to stop his suspension, which he alleged was planned in advance.

A source close to McBride said the IPID boss was willing “to fight this thing” because it has for a long time been not about McBride, but because IPID was investigating highly placed politicians and senior police officers.

“Crime intelligence is the third force in this fiasco,” said the source.

Senior sources in IPID, and the Hawks, as well as documents seen by sister paper Beeld, hint there may be a hand behind crime intelligence that is stirring the pot behind the scenes:

• On August 4, 2014, McBride ­informed Nhleko at a meeting in the ­IPID offices members of crime intelligence were doing their best to falsely implicate Dramat and Sibiya with the Zimbabwe extraditions, two senior sources said. McBride also informed Nhleko that IPID would exonerate Dramat and Sibiya. Nhleko’s spokesperson Musa Zondi did not want to confirm the meeting because it was “privileged”;

• McBride was unpopular when he confiscated a “data 6 fax line” in Sibiya’s office, which is used to send and receive encrypted messages or documents. In his affidavit at the Pretoria High Court, McBride said two colonels from the crime intelligence unitarrived at Sibiya’s office in February to demand the machine because it allegedly belonged to Mdluli.

Mdluli was suspended and did not have authority to have state equipment. Senior sources in the police allege “certain members in crime intelligence still send reports directly to Mdluli”. The Hawks are now investigating the incident, City Press reported yesterday;

• Lieutenant-Colonel Richard ­Madilonga, who was based at Beit Bridge during the extraditions in 2010, said in an affidavit senior Hawks officers were involved. Acting Hawks head ­Major-General Benny Ntlemeza, said Madilonga had died suddenly — allegedly under mysterious circumstances. Beeld has, however, seen a death ­certificate that states Madilonga had died from “natural causes”.

• In a letter from McBride to Nhleko on November 26, 2014, it appears the original complainant was a colonel ­Mokangwe from the crime intelligence unit; and

• Innocent Khube, head of IPID in Limpopo and investigator in the ­Zimbabwe extradition case, had told colleagues that he had since the start of his investigation felt “uncomfortable” with crime intelligence’s involvement in the case, a source said.

Zondi did not want to react to ­rumours from unnamed sources, but said allegations about “crime ­intelligence and General Mdluli are just a smoke screen”. He said the extraditions amounted to a criminal offence with serious human right violations. “Nothing will stop the minister ensuring that justice takes its course.”

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