Former spy boss Mahlodi Muofhe sues IGI for R500 000 over 'falsified qualifications' claim

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Mahlodi Muofhe.
Mahlodi Muofhe.
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  • The former domestic spy boss is suing the IGI over a falsified qualifications claim.
  • Mahlodi Muofhe is seeking R500 000 in constitutional damages.
  • The IGI will not comment on the merits of the case.

The State Security Agency's former domestic director-general, advocate Mahlodi Muofhe, is suing the Inspector-General of Intelligence (IGI), Setlhomamaru Dintwe, over claims that he (Muofhe) had falsified his qualifications.

In the notice of motion before the North Gauteng High Court, Muofhe asks the court to declare that Dintwe "acted in violation of the constitutional rights of the applicant to human dignity and privacy when he announced during a television interview, on 10 November 2020, that he was investigating the applicant for falsifying his qualifications".

In addition, among other things, Muofhe is seeking an order for constitutional damages, in the sum of R500 000.

News24 reported in February that Muofhe had demanded Dintwe retract the statement and apologise unconditionally within 14 days, otherwise legal steps would follow.

READ | Retract or face 'legal steps' - SSA domestic chief to IGI after allegations of false qualifications

In his affidavit, Muofhe argues that the announcement by Dintwe was "callous, malicious, reckless and hurtful".

"Given the highly sensitive and placed position I occupied, it would have been very easy for the respondent to verify the truthfulness or otherwise of the allegations. The easiest thing for the respondent to do would have been to call me and ask for proof of my qualifications.

"I would have shown him the qualifications. He did not have to appear on television and announce that he was investigating me," Muofhe stated.

Intelligence Inspector-General, Dr Setlhomamaru Di
Setlhomamaru Dintwe.

In the interview, Dintwe stated that Muofhe was under investigation after a complaint was received from an anonymous complainant, News24 reported.

Complaint

Muofhe added that the anonymous complaint, which Dintwe received, was "malicious and frivolous".

"As someone charged with oversight over intelligence services, it was not in his place to perpetuate the malicious information. He should have done the basics and contacted me, and I would have shown him my qualifications, which would have shown that I did not falsify the qualifications.

ALSO READ | Spy watchdog job: Rev Frank Chikane among 12 candidates who made the shortlist

"Instead, he chose to go public with the anonymous complaint. He was not supposed to give an interview on television about me," Muofhe further explained.

In the court papers, Muofhe attaches a certified copy of his Bachelor of Law degree, obtained from the University of South Africa, and a copy of his admission as an advocate of the high court. 

Muofhe said that, while the IGI had a right and a duty to investigate in line with the Oversight Act, he must "at all times do so and carry out his functions while safeguarding the dignity of the people he is investigating".

He added that the mere announcement, without fact-checking, was an assault on his dignity.

"The allegation suggested that I am dishonest and capable of falsifying my qualifications. The position of Director of Domestic branch of the State Security Agency is a very important and sensitive one.

Character

"Any suggestion that I may have been involved in impropriety casts aspersions not only on me and my character, but also on the office that I held," Muofhe stated in his affidavit.

The IGI has since cleared Muofhe of the allegations as the anonymous complaint was found to be "without merit and the allegations untrue".

The IGI's spokesperson, advocate Jay Govender, told News24 on Thursday that, to date, the court papers had not been served on the IGI.

"In any event, as the matter is sub judice, the IGI is unable to provide any comments on the merits of the case," Govender said.

Muofhe and Dintwe recently both made the shortlist for the spy watchdog post, but Muofhe has officially withdrawn from the process.

In a letter - seen by News24 - Muofhe said he was unable to avail himself for the interview for the position, due to personal reasons.

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