NPA told to charge Mdluli
Adriaan Basson and Paddy Harper, City Press
Johannesburg - Crime intelligence boss Lieutenant General Richard Mdluli could be back in court as soon as this week to face charges of fraud and corruption.
City Press can reveal that Advocate Faith Radebe, the Inspector General of Intelligence (IGI), on Monday last week wrote to the police, advising them to reinstate criminal charges against Mdluli.
Mdluli is believed to be trusted by President Jacob Zuma and was seen as the frontrunner to replace General Bheki Cele as police chief.
City Press earlier this month revealed the extent of the criminal investigation against Mdluli – a former deputy head of police in Gauteng who claims he is the victim of a Cele-driven conspiracy.
Mdluli released a “ground coverage” intelligence report last year in which it was claimed a group of senior ANC leaders, led by Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale, were plotting to oust Zuma at the party’s elective conference in December.
As deputy head of police in Gauteng, Mdluli also oversaw the detectives who investigated the rape case against Zuma in 2006.
The allegations against Mdluli included defrauding crime intelligence to buy two new BMWs for him and his wife; appointing or promoting a phalanx of family members to the agent programme and the unauthorised use of safe houses for his personal benefit.
Mdluli and Colonel Heine Barnard were charged with fraud and corruption last year relating to the sale of Mdluli’s BMW and the purchase of two new BMWs.
But charges were controversially dropped in December after Mdluli’s lawyer made representations to the NPA, claiming his client was the victim of a conspiracy to keep him out of crime intelligence.
The NPA was split on the matter – senior prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach, who was in charge of the case, and the director of public prosecutions (DPP) for North Gauteng, Advocate Sibongile Mzinyathi, did not want the charges dropped.
But they were overruled by Advocate Lawrence Mrwebi, national head of the specialised commercial crimes unit, who was appointed by Zuma in October last year.
Mrwebi instructed Mzinyathi and Breytenbach to withdraw charges against Mdluli.
He argued that the police and NPA had no authority to investigate intelligence matters and that the case should have been handled by the office of the IGI, headed by Radebe.
Sources close to the case told City Press this prompted the police to write to Radebe and provide her with the Hawks’ corruption docket against Mdluli.
On Monday, Radebe wrote back to acting police chief General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, advising them that Mrwebi’s arguments were flawed and that the matter should be reinstated at court. The police were expected to refer the matter back to the NPA.
A source who saw the letter said Radebe also slammed Mrwebi’s understanding of the IGI’s powers and said her mandate did not include criminal investigations, which were the exclusive mandate of the police.
An NPA insider said it was likely that Radebe’s decision would cause renewed rifts in the prosecuting authority.
Mrwebi is a close ally of acting national director of public prosecutions, Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba, who is linked to Mdluli through his support of her in a Labour Court matter against the NPA in 2007.
There is also a debate within the NPA over who has jurisdiction over the Mdluli case.
Some say Mzinyathi, as DPP, has the final say over matters in his court, while the NPA insists Mrwebi had the power to withdraw cases.
Breytenbach was served with a notice to suspend in February, allegedly for an abuse of her power in the fraud investigation of Imperial Crown Trading, a mining firm linked to Zuma and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.
But her supporters in the NPA believe she was being targeted for insisting the Mdluli prosecution should go ahead.
Her lawyer Gerhard Wagenaar told City Press last week she had not been suspended and was still at work.
Spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said the NPA had not yet received a letter from Mkhwanazi, while police spokesperson Lindela Mashigo said correspondence with the IGI was classified.