Mdluli: KZN cop in witness protection

2012-04-23 12:02

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Durban - A senior officer in crime intelligence in KwaZulu-Natal holds the key to the successful prosecution of his boss, Lieutenant General Richard Mdluli, and his confidantes for allegedly looting the division’s secret fund.

The officer, who revealed details of alleged fraud, theft and nepotism to Hawks investigators, has been placed in a witness protection programme since spilling the beans months ago.

The name of the officer is known to Media24 Investigations, but is not being published in the interests of his security.

Details of the officer and how he led Hawks investigators to unearth evidence of the rot in crime intelligence is contained in two affidavits - made by the Hawks' Colonel Kobus Roelofse and Lieutenant Colonel Piet Viljoen - and a top-secret report sent to acting police commissioner Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi.

Victimisation

Several other crime intelligence members also provided the Hawks investigators with information, and according to Roelofse’s affidavit, they “do not want to speak openly and are fearful of Mdluli”.

Viljoen said Mdluli “retains the misguided loyalty of many colleagues” and therefore whistleblowers “are scared of victimisation” and their fears are “not necessarily unfounded”.

The whistleblower is a close confidante of crime intelligence finance head General Solly Lazarus who controls the division’s secret fund of around R250m a year.

Lazarus promoted the whistleblower from clerk to the rank of lieutenant colonel in 2010, the statements say.

He had then used him to appoint and handle family members, rent safe houses for the use of top officers, submit false claims, book air tickets for their private use and participate in the distribution of luxury vehicles for Mdluli and his cronies.

When the Hawks pounced on crime intelligence last year, they questioned the whistleblower. He admitted that he had submitted false claims for his own benefit in excess of R100 000.

He agreed to co-operate and made a lengthy affidavit. He opened his safe to the Hawks and revealed a treasure trove of potentially incriminating evidence against top officers.

The Hawks investigators say in their statements that they have verified many of the whistleblower’s claims.

Invoices


Among the documents from the whistleblower’s safe were the invoices that show that the secret fund paid for “security renovations” at the KwaZulu-Natal home of Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

The whistleblower also gave jobs to seven family members of Mdluli and seven family members of convicted drug dealer Panganathan Marimuthu in crime intelligence and was responsible for organising flights for the Mdluli family.

The tickets were paid for out of the secret fund, although they were for private use.

He told the investigators how a group of senior crime intelligence officers, including Mdluli, Lazarus and he, went overseas to buy equipment. Mdluli’s wife, who at the time worked for the department of home affairs, accompanied them. She flew business class and her ticket of R46 000 was paid out of the secret fund.

The group spent only two days on official business buying new equipment. The rest of the time they shopped and did sightseeing. Even some of the shopping was paid for by the secret fund.

After the Hawks investigators secured the co-operation of the whistleblower, he told them that plans were being made to destroy records that implicated others.

When Hawks investigators attempted to seize records from a travel agent who did bookings for crime intelligence, he said he knew they were coming. An intelligence officer had tipped him off.

The investigators found various documents in his wastepaper basket that had been torn to pieces. They managed to piece the information together and found that family members of Lazarus who undertook flights had been recorded under different names.

Requests for comment to the senior police officers named went unanswered. McIntosh Polela, the Hawks spokesperson, said he could not comment as the issues related to crime intelligence and could be the subject of court action.

- Media24 Investigations
Read more on:    hawks  |  solly lazarus  |  richard mdluli  |  nathi mthethwa  |  durban  |  corruption  |  government spending
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