Mdluli back at work - again

2012-06-01 18:33
Johannesburg - Former police spy boss Richard Mdluli had his police suspension lifted on Friday by claiming he was being subjected to "double double jeopardy".

Judge Edwin Molahlehi, of the Johannesburg Labour Court, ordered late on Friday afternoon that Mdluli's suspension of two weeks ago be lifted and that he be allowed to return to work immediately.

"I am satisfied in terms of the founding affidavit that a prima facie case has been made and, in the absence of opposition from respondents... there is no reason to doubt the version of the applicant," said Molahlehi.

Mdluli's application went unopposed by lawyers for acting police chief Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, who appeared to have been under the impression that the case would only be heard on Monday, following an instruction from the court's registrar.

But Mdluli's attorney Graham Moshoana, in a letter in the court file, appealed to the registrar to have the matter heard on Friday.

This was because the "suspension being unlawful continues to erode on the dignity of [Mdluli] and the weekend media is going to continue to erode on his dignity".

The letter stated that the "matter has sensitivities around it and the applicant seeks an interim order even if returnable on Monday".

During the hearing, Moshoana said the "state attorney and its client should be aware this matter is proceeding this afternoon".

Moshoana said he had not received any further communication from them.

In his founding affidavit Mdluli claimed that his suspension constituted "double double jeopardy, as [Mkhwanazi] seeks to suspend me for the same allegations that I was previously suspended".

Mdluli also claimed that he was not afforded an opportunity to make representations about his suspension.

In his affidavit, Mdluli explained that on 15 May, the same day lobby group Freedom Under Law launched its court bid to have his suspension challenged, Mdluli "fell sick and consulted a doctor".

Mdluli claimed the doctor said he was suffering from "stress and high blood pressure and booked me off".

He added that his doctor told him his condition would be "life-threatening if he continued to work".

And then he was "shocked" when his attorney told him that he had been suspended again the following Friday.

The former police spy boss was suspended for the second time by Mkhwanazi on 25 May - after Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa announced that he would be removed from crime intelligence but continue to work pending an investigation of a task team headed by state law adviser Enver Daniels.

The allegations against Mdluli related to the 1999 murder of Oupa Ramokgibe as well as the mismanagement and abuse of the polices crime intelligence slush fund.  

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