The report used to hound out Hawks boss Anwa Dramat was almost entirely the work of the police’s notorious crime intelligence unit.
Not only did the investigation into Dramat’s alleged involvement in the illegal rendition of Zimbabweans originate in crime intelligence, but the “majority of the work” had already been done by a mysterious intelligence operative known only as Colonel Moukangwe.
A cover-up deal was also struck between Moukangwe with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) to ensure “Moukangwe’s name would not appear” in the report after Ipid investigated the matter.
These are some of the startling revelations contained in a Werksmans Attorneys report that police minister Nathi Nhleko requisitioned about the renditions and presented to Parliament on Tuesday.
The report, or parts of it, was leaked to the media earlier this month but no reference was made to the major role crime intelligence played in the investigations.
Its involvement raises serious questions about the influence its suspended head, Richard Mdluli, may have had over the investigation, as he was at the time being investigated by the Hawks for corruption and involved in a bitter feud with senior generals.
Nhleko this week used the Werksmans report, which contains findings about two contradictory Ipid reports produced on the renditions, to justify his decision to suspend Dramat and proceed with a disciplinary inquiry against Robert McBride for allegedly trying to cover up Dramat’s involvement.
The Werksmans report concludes that the second Ipid report produced under McBride’s watch – which cleared Dramat and Gauteng Hawks boss Shadrack Sibiya – had evidence excised from it and therefore recommends the initial report produced by Ipid be considered authoritative.
But this first report can be traced all the way back to crime intelligence at a time when Mdluli was trying to fight off a Hawks investigation into the alleged looting of the crime intelligence slush fund.
Nhleko on Tuesday struggled to explain to Parliament’s portfolio committee why crime intelligence had been first “on the spot”.
He said crime intelligence had been “instructed to disengage in favour of working together with Ipid and Ipid taking the lead … so the investigation does not necessarily originate with crime intelligence”.
This is, however, contradicted by the contents of the Werksmans investigation.
The report states it is “critical to mention that prior to Khuba conducting any investigations into the rendition … a member of crime intelligence, Moukangwe, had commenced an investigation”.
According to the report, Khuba received the docket and a letter of appointment from a National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) official on October 23 2012. This was a full year after the rendition allegation had already been leaked to the Sunday Times.
According to the Werksmans report, Khuba was “instructed to liase with Moukangwe so that the latter could assist him to conduct the investigation” and, at a later meeting, the two agreed “Moukangwe’s name would not appear in the report once the investigation is finalised, as the investigation was commissioned by Ipid and Moukangwe was employed at crime intelligence”.
Moukangwe was later quizzed by Werksmans on why an official from the police “was tasked with conducting an investigation on behalf of Ipid”.He replied that “the majority of the work had already been done by crime intelligence and [Moukangwe’s] superiors were of the view that he should assist Khuba in finalising the investigation”.
A detailed reading of both the Ipid reports subsequently produced by Khuba in this investigation confirms the major role crime intelligence played in the investigation was concealed.
At no point do the two reports produced on the subject mention Moukangwe by name.
This is also not the first time the rendition investigation has been linked to a plot by crime intelligence to discredit the Hawks and Dramat.
A 2012 report compiled by Colonel Kobus Roelofse indicates the investigating officer assigned to investigate corruption allegations against Mdluli also made reference to a smear campaign.
According to a source interviewed by Roelofse, he heard Solly Lazarus, the former chief financial officer of crime intelligence, and other crime intelligence officers, discussing the “placement of a newspaper article relating to Dramat and Sibiya” to “take the focus away from them”.
The article was identified as that published by the Sunday Times on October 23 2011.
Mdluli has also, in a letter he wrote to President Jacob Zuma on November 3 2011, accused Dramat as well as other senior police generals of conspiring against him.
This is the same letter in which the suspended Mdluli promised President Zuma he would “assist the president to succeed” ahead of the ANC’s 2012 Mangaung elective conference.
Johan Burger, a policing expert with the Institute for Security Studies who is acquainted with the details of the investigation, said “given the bigger picture, the role of crime intelligence is extremely suspicious”.
“If they were satisfied their investigation was entirely above board, why are they concealing the names of the operatives who were involved?”
Dramat has resigned after reaching a settlement agreement with Nhleko. McBride is currently suspended and his disciplinary hearing is due to take place this week.