NPA denies meddling in Mdluli case
Cape Town - There were no political orders to drop criminal charges against crime intelligence chief Richard Mdluli, acting NPA head Nomgcobo Jiba said on Tuesday.
"There is no instruction that has been given to any deputy Director of Public Prosecutions or any other person to withdraw the charges against General Mdluli.
"It will be a sad day in the country if we take our decisions because of political pressure," she told Parliament's portfolio committee on justice after briefing MPs on the National Prosecuting Authority's strategic plan for the year.
Jiba was responding to a question by Democratic Alliance MP Dene Smuts, who also demanded to know whether there was any link between the Mdluli saga and an attempt to suspend senior prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach.
Jiba denied any connection. She said Breytenbach was given notice in February of an intention to suspend her, relating to her handling of the investigation into charges iron ore mining rivals Kumba Iron Ore and politically connected Imperial Crown Trading brought against each other.
The investigation against Breytenbach was still underway, but she was never suspended.
According to media reports Breytenbach's opposition to the NPA's decision in December last year to withdraw fraud charges against Mdluli had contributed to attempts to suspend her.
Mdluli is tipped to become the country's next police commissioner after fraud and murder charges against him were dropped two months apart, amid reports of top-level political pressure on the NPA and the Inspector General of Intelligence Faith Radebe to let him off the hook.
He was reinstated as head of the Crime Intelligence Division (CID) after the NPA dropped fraud charges against him relating to the alleged abuse of the police's service account.
Along with Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and CID finance chief Solly Lazarus, he was accused of sanctioning the abuse of millions of rands from the account for private ends.
Facing mounting pressure on the matter, Mthethwa on Monday referred the claims that he abused R200 000 in police intelligence funds to refurbish his house to the Auditor General.
Mdluli has been dogged by murder charges relating to the killing of a love rival in 1999. But in February, the NPA withdrew charges against him and three others stemming from the death of Oupa Ramogibe, and established an inquest to determine whether the state had enough evidence for a trial.
The inquest heard this week that key evidence in the case had been destroyed.