The North Gauteng High Court’s decision to disbar the deputy director of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Nomgcobo Jiba, and the special director of the specialised commercial crimes unit, Lawrence Mrwebi, has galvanised former crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli into speaking out.
Mdluli has broken his silence to express shock at the court’s ruling.
He spoke for the first time since 2012, when he and former police officer Mthembeni Mthunzi faced charges relating to the kidnapping and murder of in 1999 Oupa Ramogibe‚ who was married to Mdluli’s lover, Tshidi Buthelezi.
The men, who are also accused of intimidation‚ assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and defeating the ends of justice, pleaded not guilty to all charges. In June, they applied in the South Gauteng High Court for a discharge.
Mdluli said he was shocked by the judgment on Thursday that disbarred Jiba and Mrwebi for having protected him.
“I felt sorry for the two ... If I was being protected by anyone, why am I facing the same charges? [Why have I been] suspended for five years without any disciplinary hearing? Why is my case still getting postponed while others are being finalised?”
Mdluli said since his suspension, he had not spoken to or met with Jiba or Mrwebi.
The two were placed on special leave on Friday, with the NPA saying the move was at their own request after consultations with Justice Minister Michael Masutha.
They are appealing the court’s judgment.
Jiba has been fending off calls for her to be removed from her post after she was scathingly rebuked in a number of court judgments.
Judge Francis Legodi on Thursday ruled in favour of the General Council of the Bar’s application to the North Gauteng High Court that Jiba and Mrwebi were not fit to be members of the Bar and should be removed.
City Press understands that the two officials are expected to argue that they had not been given an opportunity to present oral arguments, that some evidence was not taken into account and that the judge ignored the fact that they had appointed a prosecutor to guide the Mdluli investigation.
However, according to Mdluli, Jiba’s problems started when she cooperated with an investigation in which Mdluli was looking into a case of defeating the ends of justice against Advocate Gerrie Nel.
“They suspended her for cooperating with the investigation that I was leading. I had to give a statement in her support explaining her role, but the fights within the NPA did not end there. The leadership of the police was fighting with [the leadership] of the NPA, under which the Scorpions fell at the time,” Mdluli said.
This was when Nel was dealing with the case of former national police commissioner Jackie Selebi.
Selebi had also assigned a team to investigate Nel for defeating the ends of justice based on a complaint from the NPA’s own integrity management unit.
Nel was arrested by a team of 20 police officers led by Mdluli, who maintains he was brought into the case because he had successfully investigated the murder of Constable Francis Rasuge and secured a conviction without her body being found.
Nel was arrested for fraud, defeating the ends of justice and perjury in 2008, but the charges were later withdrawn and subsequently dropped.
Mdluli said he believed there was a conspiracy against him by several former Scorpions members who wanted to settle scores, particularly for the investigation and arrest of Nel.
Among those who wanted him out of the police service were Nel, former prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach, prosecutor Andrew Leask and some police officers who wanted to take over his position as crime intelligence head.
Mdluli, whose CV lists diverse qualifications, said he was at the time the most qualified and senior police officer, and was even destined to become the national police commissioner.
“As a result, those who wanted that post [national commissioner] started a campaign to discredit me and even made up cases against me,” he said.
Mdluli, who was charged for allegedly abusing the covert fund and allegedly hiring family members prior to his suspension, said due to the secrecy surrounding intelligence matters, he would not reveal the details.
“There are appropriate forums that I can discuss matter of intelligence. Unfortunately, I cannot reveal anything. Otherwise I will be charged for that,” he said.
Asked if he had been offered a golden handshake, Mdluli said he was offered a deal to leave the police service amicably. However, he refused the separation offer because he did not wish to leave the police force under a cloud.
“Why suspend me and then offer to pay me out? I want to clear my name and retire from the police service without any cloud hanging over my head. I trust the courts to clear me,” he said.
Mdluli said he was writing an autobiography about his arrest and his life.
“I remain an employee [of the state] and cannot start any business or look for a job while this matter remains unresolved.”
Mdluli said most of the allegations about him he hears them in the media.
“They say I bug people’s phones. They are making this hullaballoo based on heresy. If I did bug people, there would be something warranting such action. Before one’s phone is bugged, there is a legal process which a judge has to approve,“ he said.