Spy boss keeps it in the family

2012-04-14 17:05

Controversial crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli handed a list with names of family members who had to be appointed as secret agents to his unit, the Hawks claim in an affidavit before court.

Some of Mdluli’s family members were appointed to the unit’s cybercrime division – without them having any IT knowledge or expertise.

Those who were appointed also had no police intelligence experience and include Mdluli’s 32-year-old current wife and his former wife.

Both were appointed at colonel level.

His daughter and a family member of his wife became lieutenant colonels and his son a captain. Two in-laws were made a sergeant and a warrant officer.

These and other shocking claims about Mdluli’s alleged role in looting the crime intelligence secret service account are detailed in two affidavits by senior Hawks investigators who were ­investigating the case. The probe has since been suspended.

City Press is in possession of the affidavits.

The statements by Lieutenant Colonel Piet Viljoen and Colonel Kobus Roelofse were used to ­convince a Germiston magistrate last year to issue search warrants relating to the investigation by the Hawks.

The claims in the affidavits were repeated in a top-secret ­report handed to acting police commissioner Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, which City Press reported on last week.

Mdluli’s family members were paid from the crime intelligence secret fund and handled by a lieutenant colonel in crime intelligence, one affidavit states. The lieutenant colonel provided the Hawks investigators with an affidavit detailing the ­appointment of Mdluli’s family members.

According to the Hawks’ affidavits, three of Mdluli’s family members, including his current wife, were appointed to the police’s cybercrime unit.

They were supposed to open and run an undercover internet cafe in Cape Town.

The cost involved to set up the front company amounted to R75 000, but they had such limited computer skills that they had to be trained in the basics at a further cost of R20 000.

But the project never got off the ground due to their lack of skills.

Money from the secret fund was also used to install an alarm system for Mdluli’s wife in her Brackenfell, Cape Town, home and in the Kraaifontein homes of her cousin and father.

Hawks investigators found two vehicles purchased from the secret fund that were registered in her name. One was a Mercedes-Benz ML 320 CDI and the other a BMW 330D.

“Investigations revealed that these cars had been bought and paid for in cash by the SA Police Force (SAPF) for official use by crime intelligence and not private use,” Viljoen says in his affidavit.

“It is difficult to comprehend what valid reason could be advanced for the SAPF to have registered any vehicle, let alone an undercover vehicle, in the name of a family member of a police general,” Roelofse states in his affidavit.

The family members were ­appointed at the beginning of 2010 during a recruitment drive by crime intelligence.

“Not one has experience in this field. They are currently paid out of the secret service account for which (Major General Solly) Lazarus is the CFO,” said Roelofse in his affidavit.

The affidavits claim that Mdluli and his wife had an affair long ­before they were married in February last year. He had employed her as a lieutenant colonel in April 2010.

When members complained about her appointment, he quietly removed her from her overt post and had her appointed as an agent.

Hawks investigators couldn’t find evidence that any of Mdluli’s family members were doing ­anything significant for crime intelligence.

The Hawks’ source, in his affidavit, said that various close confidants and friends of Lazarus were also promoted or appointed to senior positions.

The crime intelligence secret fund also paid for a rented home for Lazarus and his family for more than a year in Emerald ­Estates in Greenstone, Johannesburg, while his own house was being renovated.

“After the lease period, the furniture from these premises was written off,” Roelofse states.

Lawyers acting for Mdluli and his wife said they had no comment. Questions to Lazarus and the Hawks were not ­answered.

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