After years of twists and turns, the long arm of the law has finally caught up with former top intelligence cop Richard Mdluli, who has been sentenced to five years in jail
Former crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli and his accomplice Mthembeni Mthunzi will have to serve time in jail after evading justice for over a decade.
The duo, were sentenced to five years imprisonment by the South Gauteng High court on Tuesday for kidnapping, intimidation, two counts of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and two counts of common assault in June 2019.
“They were each sentenced to three years for the two counts of kidnapping, two years for each of the two counts of assault with intent to do grievous bodily and one year for each of the two counts of common assault. The sentences were ordered to run concurrently, resulting in an effective sentence of five years,” National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said.
Mjonondwane, who attended the court proceedings, said the two had initially brought an application for leave to appeal against conviction and sentencing, citing that the court misdirected itself and that the conviction was based on evidence of a single witness.
“Senior prosecutor Advocate Deon Barnard, argued that a court of law may convict on evidence of a single witness and that there was evidence that corroborated the evidence of the single witness and therefore there was no misdirection on the part of the court as it holistically considered evidence presented in court and considered the triad factor (interest of justice, personal circumstances of the accused, as well as the interest of society) in dispensing a suitable sentence,” she said.
Mjonondwane said the prosecution also argued that a custodial sentence would serve as a deterrent and consolation for victims, arguing that the two accused were senior police officials that abused power, leaving the victims of their crimes in a devastating state.
“Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng dismissed their leave to appeal and ruled that there were no prospects of success on appeal. The pair were acquitted on the charge of defeating the ends of justice. The conviction on the charge of intimidation was later rescinded following the 2019 Moyo judgment of the Constitution Court of South Africa that ruled that the Intimidation Act 72 of 1982 was unconstitutional and deemed it invalid,” she said.
The case dates back more than 15 years when Oupa Ramogibe reported a case of attempted murder with the Vosloorus police station, where Mdluli was a station commander at the time.
The court heard evidence that Ramogibe allegedly had an affair with Richard Mdluli’s customary wife, Tshidi Buthelezi, and married her in 1998, without Mdluli’s knowledge. Their actions angered Mdluli and together with his co-accused, he kidnapped Ramogibe.
In 2011, Mdluli, Mthunzi and two others, Nkosana “Killer” Ximba and Samuel Dlomo, were charged with 16 counts ranging from murder, attempted murder, intimidation, kidnapping, assault, grievous bodily harm, conspiracy to commit murder and defeating and/or obstructing the course of justice.
The docket was brought to the NPA and in April 2012, following representations lodged by Mdluli to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in the Gauteng Local Division to have the prosecution against him reviewed. The Director of Public Prosecutions Andrew Chauke, took a decision to provisionally withdraw all 16 charges and referred the matter for an inquest hearing to establish the circumstances surrounding the death of Ramogibe and to determine, whether or not, there was anyone that could be held criminally liable for the death of Ramogibe.
Chauke provisionally withdrew all charges pending the outcome of the inquest hearing in order to avoid a fragmented trial.
In September 2012, Magistrate Jurg Viviers, who presided over the inquest hearing to establish the circumstances surrounding the death of Ramogibe, cleared Mdluli and his co-accused of any involvement in the murder of Ramogibe. After considering her judgment, the DPP decided to withdraw the murder charge.
Rights advocacy group Freedom Under Law approached the High Court in Pretoria in a quest to set aside the NPA’s decision to withdraw the charges of murder as well as charges of fraud and corruption that were withdrawn by Advocate Lawrence Mrwebi in 2011 in his capacity as head of the national prosecutions service.
Mdluli still has other cases to answer for, as he and other senior crime intelligence officers face criminal charges in relation to the looting of the police’s secret fund.