McBride backs Dramat, Sibiya

2015-01-11 17:00

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Head of Ipid tells lawyers that both the Hawks chiefs were cleared of wrongdoing in an investigation conducted by the watchdog

Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) boss Robert McBride is supporting both suspended Hawks head Lieutenant General Anwa Dramat as well as Gauteng Hawks head Major General Shadrack Sibiya in their battle to keep their jobs.

City Press has been reliably informed by two senior police sources and one senior Ipid source that McBride confirmed to both Dramat and Sibiya’s lawyers that the police watchdog had found no “wrongdoing on their clients’ part”.

Dramat was suspended on December 23 by Police Minister Nathi Nhleko for his alleged role in the illegal rendition of seven Zimbabweans in 2010.

According to a letter sent to Dramat on December?9 by Nhleko, which informed Dramat of Nhleko’s intention to suspend him, two of the men were killed by Zimbabwean police.

In the letter, Nhleko also alleges Dramat played a role in the illegal extradition to South Africa of serial escapee and armed robber Bongani Moyo, a Zimbabwean national.

On Monday, acting Hawks head Major General Benny Ntlemeza suspended Sibiya and section head Colonel Leslie Maluleke in connection with the case.

City Press has learnt McBride wrote to Dramat’s lawyer, Johann Nortje, in December and to Sibiya’s lawyer, Victor Nkhwashu, on Friday following access to information applications they had both submitted.

McBride told the lawyers that the Ipid investigation, which has been handed to the National Prosecuting Authority for a decision, found that “both Dramat and Sibiya were cleared of wrongdoing”.

However, Maluleke is likely to face the music.

“Ipid, however, does not clear Hawks section head Colonel Leslie ‘Cowboy’ Maluleke of any wrongdoing and has left the police service management to decide on remedial action,” said a senior police source.

The Mail & Guardian reported on Friday that McBride met Dramat and his lawyers in Cape Town last week, and told those who attended the meeting that the Ipid investigation cleared Dramat and found evidence of an attempt to falsely implicate him.

Tomorrow, Maluleke and Sibiya will make submissions to Ntlemeza detailing why they should not be suspended. City Press understands that Sibiya will say he was not involved in operational matters.

A senior Hawks source said: “He will also tell Ntlemeza the complaints he has been suspended for are old and he has been cleared by Ipid. He will also attach a letter from Ipid to support his claim.

“He will also say that officers close to suspended crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli framed him because he wanted to arrest Mdluli.”

A Hawks source close to Maluleke said he “will say he doesn’t know of any laws that declare rendition as a charge and that he acted on the deportation order granted by home affairs.

He will also tell Ntlemeza that the four complainants in the case were responsible for arresting the Zimbabwean suspects.”

On Friday, the Helen Suzman Foundation filed an urgent application in the North Gauteng High Court, asking for Dramat’s suspension to be overturned and Ntlemeza’s appointment to be reversed.

The foundation’s head, Francis Antonie, said Nhleko’s suspension of Dramat violates two recent Constitutional Court rulings.

In a letter to Nhleko on December 12 opposing Dramat’s notice of suspension, attorney John Riley writes that Nhleko did not have the power to suspend him.

Riley cited both Constitutional Court rulings – in matters brought by the Helen Suzman Foundation and businessman Hugh Glenister – which rendered invalid and unconstitutional certain sections of the SA Police Service Amendment Act, which gave powers to the police minister and the national police commissioner to suspend the head of the Hawks.

In court papers, Antonie said that Dramat can only be suspended after a decision by the relevant parliamentary committee.

In his letter, Riley states that the purpose of the constitutional litigation in the Suzman and Glenister matters was to ensure the Hawks were adequately independent and enjoyed operational autonomy.

Constitutional law professor Pierre de Vos agreed, saying on his blog this week that Nhleko “relied on the unconstitutional and thus deleted section of the SA Police Services Act to ‘suspend’ the head of the Hawks. This was unlawful. No court in South Africa will endorse the illegal suspension of Mr Dramat by the minister of police.”

However, in a response to Dramat, Nhleko writes that he had read both judgments and “found nothing?...?which precluded me from exercising my powers as your employer to place you on precautionary suspension”.

 The cases Dramat was working on

In his response to Nathi Nhleko on December 24, Anwa Dramat alleges he was aware of a plan to remove him from the Hawks because of cases he was overseeing.

He claimed the cases were to be “centralised” or closed, and that the rendition allegations were a “smoke screen”.

Two Hawks sources close to Dramat and one within the crime intelligence division said that before he was suspended, he defied Riah Phiyega’s instruction to hand over some cases to her to be “centralised”.

However, Phiyega’s spokesperson, Lieutenant General Solomon Makgale, denied this.

Two senior police sources told City Press that some of the cases Dramat alluded to include

»?Nkandla investigation

Two sources said that a few months ago, the police’s head of detectives, Lieutenant General Vinesh Moonoo, approached Dramat for his docket attached to the Hawks investigation into the R246?million spent on upgrades at Nkandla.

The docket, the sources said, contains documents given to the Hawks by the Special Investigating Unit, which include sensitive “correspondence” revealing the “influence of politicians in the awarding of the projects”.

Dramat refused, but seven minutes later, he received a call from police commissioner Riah Phiyega, who told him to hand over the docket.

“Dramat told Phiyega that the cases fell under the mandate of the Hawks and therefore should be investigated by his unit,” a senior source said.

» Gaddafi millions

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and police sources say that the Hawks were involved in compiling a list of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s assets in South Africa – which are believed to include millions in cash, and which have been locked up in warehouses in several locations in Gauteng.

These sources allege there were a number of politicians and others who wanted to take some of the cash for themselves, and Dramat and a senior NPA official stood in their way.

» Fraud and corruption investigation into suspended CI head Richard Mdluli

This week, acting Hawks head Major General Benny Ntlemeza travelled to Cape Town to collect the docket attached to the investigation Dramat was overseeing into former police crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.

The investigation, said two senior police sources, was at an “advanced stage” after a breakthrough that came in the form of a statement made by one of Mdluli’s former allies.

The Hawks were investigating the slush fund crime intelligence officers allegedly looted to buy themselves properties and luxury cars. Ntlemeza, however, has reassigned the case to a colonel, whose name is known to City Press, who is widely believed to be close to him.

Ntlemeza’s new spokesperson, Hangwani Mulaudzi, was unable to comment because he only officially starts his new job tomorrow. Police spokesperson Solomon Makgale was not immediately able to comment.

In 2011, Ntlemeza wrote a report that was submitted to the Boksburg Magistrates’ Court at an inquest into the killing of Mdluli’s love rival Oupa Ramogibe. In it, he said there was a conspiracy against Mdluli.

Ntlemeza has also begun reshuffling the unit’s senior officers.

Two sources who attended Ntlemeza’s first Hawks staff meeting on Wednesday, said he told them he was “in charge until further notice”. He has also removed all heads of “forums” – 12 specialised subunits within the Hawks that deal with specific cases such as corruption, tobacco smuggling and organised crime – and replaced them with other officers.

His explanation was that he was “capacitating” the unit, but senior officers worry that critical expertise will be lost.

Founding Affidavit (Including Annexes) (Served) 09012015

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