Mdluli noose tightens around Mrwebi’s neck

2013-09-29 14:00

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Hawks lay complaint of defeating the ends of justice.

A Hawks investigating officer has lodged a criminal complaint against the senior National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) officer who dropped corruption charges against suspended police spy boss Richard Mdluli.

City Press can reveal that Hawks investigating officer Kobus Roelofse, who was responsible for investigating Mdluli’s criminal case, has laid a complaint of defeating the ends of justice against Lawrence Mrwebi, head of the Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit (SCCU) at the NPA.

This week, Mrwebi’s November 2011 instruction to withdraw corruption charges against Mdluli was declared unlawful and irrational by Judge John Murphy in the North Gauteng High Court.

Murphy ruled that Mrwebi’s decision, which related to the corruption charges, was “illegal, irrational, based on irrelevant considerations and material errors of law, and ultimately so unreasonable no reasonable prosecutor could have taken it”.

Murphy also found that Mrwebi “probably invented” his subsequent explanation that he had only provisionally withdrawn corruption charges against Mdluli.

The judge said this was inconsistent with Mrwebi’s language at the time, when he referred to the investigation as “closed”.

The case saw rights group Freedom Under Law emerge victorious in their court battle to reverse the NPA decision to drop corruption, fraud, murder, kidnapping, assault and intimidation charges against Mdluli.

Mrwebi – appointed by President Jacob Zuma weeks before he instructed senior prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach to withdraw corruption charges against Mdluli – is no stranger to controversy.

City Press can reveal that Mrwebi also narrowly avoided disciplinary charges over an alleged payout of R150?000 from the Scorpions’ secret slush fund to a nonexistent informer in 2004.

This is made clear in court documents relating to the matter leaked to City Press. At the time, Mrwebi headed the Scorpions in KwaZulu-Natal.

An affidavit by Mrwebi details how Geoffrey Ledwaba, the former investigating director of the Scorpions, asked him to prepare a motivation for the payment of an informant in a 2003 case the Scorpions handled.

Mrwebi said he phoned the investigator, Clifford Naidoo, to draft the report necessary for the funds to be released.

“Naidoo commented that, as far as he was concerned, there was no informer in the matter who qualified for a reward,” Mrwebi said in his affidavit.

Despite this, Mrwebi drew up a report that states that, with regard to successes in the matter, it is “submitted that the source/informer has provided such valuable information and, as such, we believe that an amount of R150?000 will be fair value for money”.

Mrwebi’s subsequent suspension, for writing an affidavit about the internal machinations of the Scorpions, which ended up in the hands of former police commissioner Jackie Selebi’s legal team, was settled out of court in 2009.

Spokesperson for the NPA Bulelwa Makeke confirmed the complaint against Mrwebi, saying the docket was “under consideration” and there were still “outstanding investigations” to be concluded. Hawks spokesperson Paul Ramoloko said the agency did not comment on matters not yet before court.

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