McBride had 'power' over witness cops
Pretoria - Former Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department (EMPD) chief Robert McBride had the final say on whether three officers who became state witnesses in his trial would face disciplinary proceedings, the Pretoria Magistrates' Court was told on Friday.
Former EMPD deputy police chief Ashok Kumar Boodhoo told the court under cross-examination that his former boss had the final say within the department on whether disciplinary action was pursued against metro police officers before the complaints were handed to the municipality's internal complaints division.
The court was told that officers Stanley Sagathevan, Patrick Johnson and Itumeleng Koko were subjected to disciplinary action in May 2007, some five months after McBride’s accident on the R511 near Hartbeespoort Dam on December 21 2006.
Asked by prosecutor Petronel du Plessis who would have the final say in the EMPD on whether officers were disciplined, Boodhoo said: "The chief of police makes the decision on discipline."
McBride, who was sacked as EMPD police chief in September 2008, could be seen in the dock shaking his head in disagreement.
McBride faces charges of fraud, defeating the ends of justice and drunken driving, and has blamed his accident after a work-related function on his diabetes medication.
Sagathevan, Johnson and Koko were employed by the EMPD. It was previously alleged they were being investigated for criminal activities, including the attempted murder of suspected cash-in-transit heist kingpin Marco Singh.
They are alleged to have changed their statements on McBride's sobriety after receiving immunity for these criminal charges. Their original statements stated that he was not drunk.
Boodhoo said the three men faced disciplinary action over the Singh incident, fraudulent overtime claims and unauthorised expenditure of R50 000 on a "souped up" EMPD car.
He admitted he was not aware of the fraud claims having been reported to the police.
He said that on the night of the accident he had given the instruction for guns and ammunition to be removed from McBride's car and the accident scene.
"You are securing a crime scene by removing things from a crime scene?" Du Plessis asked him.
He said he gave the instruction because he was concerned that the weapons and ammunition would fall out of the control of the EMPD and this would "cause serious trouble".
He did not believe their removal contaminated the crime scene and his decision to order their removal from the scene "does not bear any significance in my view".
He gave the instruction for McBride to be taken away from the accident scene so that he could receive medical attention.
The trial was postponed to February 23.