Police move to suspend Mdluli – again

2012-05-17 16:59

Controversial top cop Richard Mdluli has been told by his bosses to give reasons why he should not be suspended.

City Press has received confirmation from police sources that both Mdluli and Major General Solly Lazarus, finance head of the crime intelligence unit, were yesterday served with notices of the police’s intention to suspend them.

This is the latest salvo in a police “war” between Mdluli and his superiors, including acting police chief Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi.

Mkhwanazi told The Times last week he was “cleaning house and will not stop until all the bad apples, regardless of who they are, are removed”.

It is known that Mkhwanazi believes Mdluli should not be back in the police. He fiercely resisted pressure from Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to reinstate Mdluli in March.

The Durban-based Daily News reported this afternoon that Mdluli and Lazarus had been served with the notices by Lieutenant General LJ Motheba of the police’s legal services.

According to the newspaper, Lazarus’s notice stated that “additional and new information had come to light on earlier alleged instances of him mismanaging the crime intelligence fund”.

Lazarus was also previously suspended from the police, but reinstated with Mdluli after pressure from Mthethwa.

The newspaper further reported there were junior police officials, under Lazarus’s command in crime intelligence, who would be conducting further investigations and who could be potential witnesses.

Mdluli is the former head of crime intelligence, who was moved sideways by Mthethwa last week to allow a task team to investigate claims by Mdluli that senior cops are conspiring against him.

According to documents in the possession of City Press, the Hawks found that Lazarus appointed family members to crime intelligence, abused a police beach resort for private purposes and misused a crime intelligence travel agent to cover private expenses.

Mdluli had relatives appointed in crime intelligence and had also allegedly abused the fund to buy two BMWs.

This week new information emerged about alleged interference in the Hawks’ Mdluli probe, after rights group Freedom Under Law (FUL) filed an application for an urgent interdict preventing Mdluli from performing any duties as a police officer.

A report by Hawks investigator Colonel Kobus Roelofse, submitted as supporting evidence in the court application, states that:
» Lazarus had lobbied senior ANC MP Cecil Burgess, who chairs Parliament’s joint standing committee on intelligence, in an attempt to have crime intelligence investigator Mark Hankel removed from the case;

» A crime intelligence source who had been assisting investigators in the Mdluli probe had been taken to Lazarus’s house and was interrogated over what he had told investigators;

» Advocate Lawrence Mrwebi, head of the National Prosecuting Authority’s specialised commercial crime unit, had informed Mdluli’s lawyer of a decision to drop criminal charges against him before the prosecutor had been told of the decision, and;

» Journalists from the Sunday Times were paid from the slush fund in order to divert attention from Lazarus – an allegation which has been denied by the newspaper.

Ike Motloung, Mdluli’s lawyer, said he had “no comment” on the latest move by the police.

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