Robert McBride implicated in criminal conduct in submission to police committee

2019-02-14 13:52
Robert McBride (File, Gallo Images)

Robert McBride (File, Gallo Images)

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Lawyers for Robert McBride say it has been brought to their attention that the Portfolio Committee on Police (PCP) has recently received submissions that seek to implicate the executive director of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) in criminal conduct.

In a letter seen by News24 addressed to the police committee and dated February 14, McBride's lawyer, Jac Marais, a partner at Adams & Adams states: "We understand that the submissions have been made by individuals that are the subject of ongoing IPID investigations under Mr McBride's supervision.

"Mr McBride denies any criminal conduct and has reason to believe that the submissions are aimed at improperly influencing the PCP’s (Portfolio Committee on Police) decision on the renewal of his appointment as the executive director of IPID," reads the letter.

Bribes

News24 understands that Nafiz Modack, who is a suspect in an IPID investigation, is said to have alleged that McBride was bribed by cigarette manufacturer Adriano Mazzotti to get information on Modack.

However, when contacted by News24, Modack denied this, saying the information before the committee was "totally fake".

"I deny the allegation. I have never ever met McBride in my life. Although few senior police members and Hawks members have contacted me to get a video from McBride. I deny any allegation that I said anything [about] Mazotti," he said. 

"They must not use my name to frame McBride, surely that’s what they doing. It’s all fake to discredit McBride," Modack said.

Through a letter from his lawyer, Nicqui Galaktiou, Mazzotti strongly denies the allegation before the committee.

"The allegation against me is false and defamatory. I have never met McBride nor Modack and they have both also denied any truth to this allegation. There are clearly ulterior motives and agendas at play and I am being dragged into it. There is nothing that can substantiate any reference to me and I will make every effort to identify the source of these lies and take action."

McBride recently filed an urgent application asking the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to declare a decision by Police Minister Bheki Cele not to renew his appointment as "unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid".

In the letter, Marais says his client has a right to be heard in respect of the allegations against him, especially in "circumstances where these allegations may inform the PCP's decision on the renewal of his contract".

READ: McBride vs Cele: Police committee to comply with court deadline

"For Mr McBride to do so, he requires the details of all the allegations that have been levelled against him, including copies of all documentation that [has] been placed before the PCP.

"In light of the seriousness of the allegations, it would, we submit, be appropriate to grant Mr McBride an oral hearing to respond thereto."

Marais also added that the police committee's decision on whether to renew McBride's appointment must be taken fairly, lawfully and rationally.

"This requires that it afford Mr McBride a hearing before it takes its decision. Such a hearing is required to satisfy Mr McBride's right to be heard, and to ensure that the PCP takes into account all the relevant considerations in exercising its decision-making power."

No reasons given

Marais also said Minister Cele should furnish both the Portfolio Committee on Police and McBride with the reasons for his recommendation that the IPID head's term not be renewed. He said the committee must also be afforded the benefit of McBride's response to the Minister's reasons for his recommendation.

"Mr McBride has repeatedly called on the minister to furnish him with the reasons for the minister's recommendation. Despite this, the minister has failed to furnish his reasons.

"In the circumstances, it is incumbent on the PCP to call upon the minister urgently to provide written reasons for his recommendation, and further to provide those reasons to Mr McBride to enable him to respond thereto. The fact that the minister has not already done so is alarming."

ALSO READ: Helen Suzman Foundation, Corruption Watch apply to step in to IPID court battle

At a briefing on Thursday, the police committee said it wanted Cele to explain why he wants McBride gone as the IPID head.

The committee met on Thursday morning to set out a programme for dealing with the matter of whether or not to renew McBride's contract.

READ: Cele must answer police committee about McBride's job

In a draft order handed to the High Court on Tuesday, the parties agreed that the decision Cele had taken not to renew McBride's term was a preliminary decision that must still be confirmed or rejected by the committee.

Decision

"It is recorded that the second respondent (the portfolio committee) intends to take a decision regarding the renewal of [McBride's] appointment on or before 28 February," reads the order.

The matter was postponed to the urgent court roll and is set down for February 26.

The portfolio committee was ordered to report, via affidavit, on its progress by February 22.

Judge Wendy Hughes granted the order on Tuesday afternoon.

Note: This article has since been updated to reflect Adriano Mazzotti's comment denying an allegation against him. News24 apologises to Mazzotti for not having approached him for comment when the story was first published.

Read more on:    police  |  ipid  |  robert mcbride
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