Mdluli report slams NPA man

2012-05-17 08:20

A senior prosecutions boss told Lieutenant General Richard Mdluli’s lawyer that corruption charges against his client would be dropped permanently – before informing the prosecutor dealing with the case about his decision.

This is another startling revelation contained in a report by Hawks investigating officer Colonel Kobus Roelofse that he wrote to the commander of the Anti-Corruption Task Team two months ago.

In his report, Roelofse casts serious doubt over the handling of Mdluli’s cases by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and specifically the head of the specialised commercial crimes unit (SCCU), Advocate Lawrence Mrwebi.

Mrwebi was appointed by President Jacob Zuma late last year.

Roelofse’s report was filed as part of rights group Freedom Under Law’s (FUL) court application for an urgent interdict preventing Mdluli from serving as a police officer in any capacity.

In the document, Roelofse reveals that Mrwebi instructed the prosecutors in the fraud and corruption case against Mdluli, Advocates Glynnis Breytenbach and Chris Smith, to drop the charges against the former crime intelligence boss in a memorandum dated December 4.

The charges related to the alleged fraudulent purchase of two BMWs with police funds for the personal use of Mdluli and his wife, crime intelligence agent Theresa Lyons.

The charges were dropped after Mdluli made representations to Mrwebi, saying that there was a “conspiracy” against him by senior members of the police and that the criminal case against him was weak.

According to Roelofse’s report, Smith responded to Mdluli’s submission by saying that the “matter cannot be withdrawn due to the strength of the state’s case”.

Smith said he had even considered adding new charges.

But just six days later, Mrwebi told Smith he was not happy with Smith’s response and that he wanted a copy of the docket.

A week later, Mrwebi ordered Smith to withdraw the case, saying he “concurs with Mdluli that the criminal case is indeed weak”.

According to Roelofse, Mrwebi also said that “even if the criminal matter was strong, the SAPS do not have a mandate to investigate the matter as it falls within the mandate of the Office of the Inspector General of Intelligence (IGI).”

“Whether there was evidence or not, is in my view, not important for my decision in this matter,” Mrwebi reportedly said.

This was despite the fact that Roelofse spoke to Advocate Jay Govender, legal adviser for the IGI, who said Mrwebi did not consult the IGI prior to withdrawing the charges against Mdluli.

Govender had also repeatedly informed Breytenbach, Smith’s supervisor, that the IGI did not have the capacity to conduct a criminal investigation, but Mrwebi insisted the IGI and not the police should investigate the case.

Breytenbach later appealed to Mrwebi to reconsider his decision at a meeting on December 9, but Mrwebi refused to do so, says Roelofse.

A decision was then taken that charges would only be provisionally withdrawn, but Roelofse later discovered that Mrwebi had indeed told Mdluli’s lawyer that the “withdrawal of charges in this matter is final and not provisional”.

Breytenbach was suspended by the NPA last month for allegedly abusing her powers in a court dispute over mining rights at the Sishen mine.

Her car has also since been shot at and an attempt was made to run her off the road.

In his report, Roelofse said a meeting was held between senior Hawks officers and prosecutors Smith and Breytenbach to discuss Mrwebi’s decision.

It was “established Mrwebi already informed Mdluli of his decision prior to informing the prosecutor, Advocate Smith,” said Roelofse.

Roelofse added acting police chief Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi had later agreed that disciplinary charges against Mdluli would go ahead and that he would also formally ask the IGI to assist in the investigation.

“Mkhwanazi however did not want the investigation to be discussed with the NPA and he indicated his objection to involving the NPA in the matter,” said Roelofse.

Mrwebi’s instruction to halt the pending investigation into Mdluli is one of the main grounds on which FUL is asking the North Gauteng High Court to review the decision to drop charges of fraud, theft and corruption against Mdluli.

The Constitution states that only the national director of public prosecutions can decide to review or withdraw a criminal prosecution.

FUL argues that Mrwebi’s conduct was thus inconsistent with the Constitution and that the court should set his decision to withdraw charges against Mdluli aside.

Cop Cluedo

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