McBride accused of stealing memory stick from Hawks

2015-03-15 15:01

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Ipid boss seeks interdict against police minister, who is said to believe McBride stole an incriminating memory stick from the Hawks

Robert McBride is now the subject of a criminal investigation – over an allegation that he stole a memory stick containing evidence that could implicate himself as well as Hawks bosses Anwa Dramat and Shadrack Sibiya in unspecified “wrongdoing”.

City Press has learnt the Hawks are now investigating a case of defeating the ends of justice against the head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) after he personally went to the office of suspended Gauteng Hawks head Shadrack Sibiya to take possession of the memory stick that was kept in the walk-in safe.

A senior Hawks officer told City Press yesterday they were also investigating the relationship between McBride and Sibiya following allegations they received that Sibiya helped McBride evade arrest and a blood test after he allegedly drove drunk and crashed his car after a Christmas party in 2006.

Neither McBride nor Sibiya were available for comment on this allegation yesterday.

McBride, however, is hitting back and is investigating how acting Hawks head Mthandazo Ntlemeza came to be in possession of the Ipid docket into the illegal rendition of five Zimbabweans. He is seeking legal advice on what charges to lay against Ntlemeza.

On Thursday night, McBride filed an urgent application at the North Gauteng High Court in which he asked for an interdict against Police Minister Nathi Nhleko suspending him.

Nhleko had sent him a letter on Wednesday giving him notice of his intention to suspend him.

In his affidavit in court papers, McBride said he met Nhleko and Ntlemeza in Cape Town in February and was told he had been accused of “raiding” Gauteng Hawks provincial headquarters.

Two senior sources, one from the Hawks and another from Ipid, told City Press the criminal investigation to “nail” McBride was still in its early stages.

“There is an investigation that focuses on whether McBride stole the memory stick, which we believe contained incriminating evidence implicating Dramat, Sibiya and himself,” said the senior Hawks source.

The device has been handed to the State Security Agency for analysis.

However, in another affidavit, Sibiya says two colonels from the Crime Intelligence Unit arrived at his offices in Parktown asking for the device because it belonged to their then suspended boss, Lieutenant General Richard Mdluli, who wanted it back.

Sibiya, who was also suspended at the time, then asked McBride to collect it and examine its contents “to see if it was not a bugging device that was installed unlawfully to monitor my communications”.

The Hawks investigation against McBride relies on an affidavit by Sibiya’s chief administration clerk, Pearl Angel Pomuser, which says McBride and two other men arrived at the provincial headquarters and demanded the device. McBride allegedly threatened Pomuser with criminal charges if she did not comply, and he was then given the “Data 6 line box” device.

In his letter to Pomuser, McBride said Ipid was “investigating a case of systematic corruption” and needed to examine it.

Last week, City Press reported that McBride faced suspension for allegedly changing the findings of a report into the roles Dramat and Sibiya played in the renditions. The differences between the draft report that implicates the two and the final version that clears them is under way by law firm Werksmans Attorneys.

The senior Hawks officer said that if McBride were found to have played a role in altering the report, he would face additional criminal charges of defeating the ends of justice.

A source within the Sandton law firm told City Press they were still analysing the reports and had asked Nhleko for another two weeks to complete their investigation, which was initially due on Friday.

“Our mandate has been extended to a month,” the source said.

In his notice of intention to suspend McBride, Nhleko accuses McBride of deliberately misleading Dramat and Sibiya by saying they had been cleared of their role in the renditions when they had not.

McBride is also accused of not informing Nhleko that there were two reports and of undermining the minister by writing to the parliamentary portfolio committee on police two weeks ago to request a special sitting to explain the differences in the reports.

Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi declined to comment yesterday, referring questions to police ministry spokesperson Musa Zondi.

Zondi confirmed Nhleko had asked McBride “in the letter whether taking the device could not be construed as tampering with evidence”.

In 2011, McBride was sentenced to two years in prison for drunken driving and an effective three years for trying to defeat the ends of justice.

He successfully appealed his conviction on both counts in 2013.

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