Johannesburg - Answers were needed from police and the National Prosecuting Authority regarding the withdrawal of criminal and disciplinary charges against suspended police intelligence boss Richard Mdluli, the DA said on Sunday.
This followed the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) upholding a High Court ruling on Thursday against the withdrawal of the charges, which the Democratic Alliance welcomed, police spokeswoman Dianne Kohler Barnard said in a statement.
“While this is a victory for accountability in this drawn out saga, the matter cannot be put to rest. Answers are now needed from the Police top brass for their role in this entire affair.”
The charges related to corruption and fraud, the SCA said in its ruling.
Kohler Barnard said the actions of those involved in the “debacle”, including Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega, must be investigated.
It was for this reason the Democratic Alliance initially called for Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to investigate the involvement of Mthethwa, Phiyega, and others.
These included then acting-police commissioner Lt-Gen Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, South Gauteng director of public prosecutions Andrew Chauke, NPA Specialised Commercial Crime Unit head Lawrence Mrwebi; and then-acting NPA head Nomgcobo Jiba.
“I will again write to Adv. Madonsela and request an update on this request and ascertain whether an investigation is to be launched,” she said.
“In the next parliamentary term, the DA will also submit questions to ascertain: how much this dithering and shielding has cost the taxpayers; and will these funds be repaid, and by whom?”
She said all those responsible, regardless of their position, should now face the law.
On Thursday, The SCA confirmed that the following executive decisions should be set aside:
- the decision by Mrwebi to withdraw criminal charges of fraud and corruption against Mdluli;
- the decision by the national police commissioner to withdraw disciplinary proceedings against Mdluli;
- the decision by the commissioner to terminate Mdluli's suspension from office and to reinstate him in his position.
The SCA rejected one aspect of the High Court order related to a murder charge.
It did not confirm the setting aside of the following executive decision:
- the decision by Chauke to withdraw criminal charges of murder and 17 related crimes - including kidnapping, intimidation and assault -against Mdluli.
Also, the SCA said it could not force the NPA to reinstate the charges without delay.
“The SCA did not confirm the High Court's orders to proceed with the criminal prosecution and the disciplinary proceedings without delay because, so the SCA held, this would constitute undue interference with the functions of the executive and a transgression of the separation of powers.”
Freedom Under Law (FUL) sought an order in the High Court of Pretoria to set aside four executive decisions - a decision by the head of the Specialised Commercial Crime Unit.
Mdluli was suspended amid charges of fraud and corruption, and charges relating to the murder of his ex-lover's husband Oupa Ramogibe in February 1999.
He allegedly employed friends and family as intelligence operatives, and misused police funding to buy luxury cars.
He was suspended, but the fraud and corruption charges were withdrawn on December 14, 2011.
Mdluli was reinstated as head of crime intelligence in March 2012. The NPA provisionally withdrew the murder charges in April that year, pending an inquest into the matter.
In May 2012, Mthethwa announced that Mdluli was being moved from crime intelligence to the office of the deputy national police commissioner for operations.
Later that month, Mdluli was suspended a second time for allegations that emerged from the inquest into Ramogibe's murder. In November 2012, the inquest cleared him of any involvement in the murder.
On the murder charges, Mdluli was initially accused of involvement in a decade-old love triangle murder.
He and three others were accused of killing Ramogibe, and faced charges including intimidation, kidnapping, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, murder, attempted murder, and conspiracy to commit murder.
Ramogibe allegedly received death threats after marrying Mdluli's ex-lover and was told to leave her or he would be killed.
He had opened an attempted murder case before his death. Mdluli, who was the station commissioner at the Vosloorus police station in Boksburg, east of Johannesburg, at the time, was accused of sabotaging the investigation. - Sapa