Reports of ‘rampant looting’ by top cop spy

2012-03-19 00:00

THE man tipped to become South Africa’s next police chief stands accused of rampant looting of the crime intelligence unit. But Lieutenant-General Richard Mdluli is unlikely to face criminal charges for his alleged deeds.

The Hawks, which uncovered the rot in crime intelligence, were recently told to suspend all investigations into Mdluli, and other crime intelligence fraud and corruption. A secret 13-page police report, leaked to The Witness’s sister paper City Press, lifts the lid on the extent of Mdluli’s alleged reign of plunder at the unit since he was appointed as the police’s chief spy by President Jacob Zuma’s cabinet in July 2009. Mdluli was interviewed and recommended by a committee consisting solely of four cabinet ministers from Zuma’s inner circle.

The report, compiled by senior crime intelligence majors-general Chris de Kock and Mark Hankel, was submitted to the inspector general of intelligence (IGI), Advocate Faith Radebe, on November 4, last year. It details what the Hawks have found and were investigating, and makes a desperate plea to Radebe to “act now on this matter rather than later” before the facts of the investigation become public knowledge.

Mdluli was suspended last year after being arrested for murder and fraud.

Both charges have since been withdrawn in what are seen as attempts by senior politicians and securocrats to secure Mdluli’s return to the police, ultimately replacing General Bheki Cele as head of police. Mdluli reportedly has Zuma’s sympathy and support — partly because of a 22-page “Ground Coverage Intelligence Report” detailing an alleged plot by Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale and other ANC politicians, called the “Mvela Group”, to topple Zuma at the ANC’s Mangaung conference in December.

Mdluli was also in charge of detectives in Gauteng during Zuma’s failed rape prosecution. The secret report states it was submitted to Radebe four days after De Kock and Hankel briefed her on what the Hawks had found on Mdluli and other senior crime intelligence agents. At the time, De Kock, who is the head of police crime statistics, was acting as divisional commissioner of crime intelligence.

It is clear from the report that the authors were well briefed on the Hawks’ investigation. Hankel was the “interlocutor” who communicated with the Hawks on behalf of crime intelligence. The report reveals:

 • Mdluli’s family members were appointed to the crime intelligence agent programme without performing any undercover operations;

• Mdluli allegedly abused covert state vehicles that he was not entitled to;

• A crime intelligence whistle-blower was abducted by other crime intelligence operatives;

• A “prominent person” from KwaZulu-Natal was allegedly placed in crime intelligence to influence suspended police boss Bheki Cele;

• Various safe houses were rented by the police for the sole use of Mdluli and his family;

• Mdluli had a “constant need for cash”;

• Mdluli “abused” a travel agent in Durban, with he and his family travelling more than 50 times at the state’s cost;

• Two journalists were allegedly paid — one R100 000 to write a positive story about the police and the other R50 000 not to publish a story about a senior cop; and

• Evidence was uncovered from which it appears that crime intelligence “sought to influence political processes in KwaZulu-Natal through the deployment of a select few covert intelligence fieldworkers” in the province. This included “buying influence and access”.

Almost prophetically, De Kock and Hankel wrote there was a “concerted effort from within crime intelligence … to derail the probe”.

Four months after submitting their report, Hawks boss Anwa Dramat has now suspended all investigations into crime intelligence fraud and corruption. His spokesperson, Colonel McIntosh Polela, said he could not comment on internal matters, but City Press understands Dramat took his cue from acting police boss Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi. Mkhwanazi’s spokesperson, Brigadier Lindela Mashigo, said: “under normal circumstances the correspondence or communication between SAPS and the IGI is not meant for publicity purposes”.

The police would not comment on this process in the media, but “remains committed to rooting out corruption, fraud and maladministration within the entire service. A restructuring process of crime intelligence is under way and the media is urged to respect that course of reorganisation of that division,” Mashigo said.

Mdluli’s attorney, Ike Motloung, said the questions by City Press showed “how elements in the SAPS and their cohorts in the media have stooped so low that they no longer have a sense of what is intelligence material or not … and no longer care about the law regarding intelligence operations or exposure of intelligence operations or operatives”.

De Kock said he could not speak to the media. The IGI’s office had no comment on the case. — City Press.

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