Mdluli’s fate still weighs in balanceComment on this story
Johannesburg - National police commissioner Riah Phiyega has still not decided whether she will reinstate the internal charges against suspended Crime Intelligence head Richard Mdluli.
In April, the Supreme Court of Appeal gave the National Prosecuting Authority and the police two months to inform lobby group Freedom Under Law (FUL) which charges – criminally and internally – would be reinstated against Mdluli.
FUL had approached the Pretoria High Court to set aside decisions to withdraw charges of fraud, corruption, assault, kidnapping, intimidation and defeating the ends of justice against Mdluli.
It related to him being linked to the death of his lover Tshidi Buthelezi’s husband Oupa Ramogibe and his alleged abuse of the Crime Intelligence slush fund, which finances undercover operations.
Challenged by the NPA and the police, the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld a high court judgment.
The NPA met the deadline announcing last month that it would reinstate some of the charges against Mdluli. But on Friday FUL chairman Justice Johann Kriegler said as far as they knew there was not yet an internal disciplinary hearing against Mdluli.
Kriegler said they received a letter from the State Attorney’s office informing them that the police were working on the matter.
Police spokesman Solomon Makgale confirmed that “the matter is yet to be concluded”.
“It is a priority for the national commissioner,” said Makgale.
He said Phiyega would take the Supreme Court of Appeal judgment and other issues such as the previous internal disciplinary process into consideration when making a decision about how to proceed.
Mdluli was initially suspended in May 2011, facing criminal charges of murder, intimidation, kidnapping, assault and defeating the ends of justice after he was linked to the death of Ramogibe. Later, charges of fraud, corruption, theft and money laundering linked to his alleged abuse of the Crime Intelligence slush fund were added.
But by February 2012 when the fraud-related criminal charges were withdrawn and an inquest cleared Mdluli of any involvement in Ramogibe’s death, he no longer faced disciplinary charges.
He was reinstated at the end of March. But two months later he was suspended for a second time. FUL then launched their application.
Makgale this week would not divulge which charges Mdluli could face.
Should Mdluli be charged internally, he could face similar charges to his former colleague, Major-General Solly Lazarus, the secret services account chief financial officer who administered the slush fund.
Lazarus, who was suspended at the same time as Mdluli, was found guilty of financial misconduct and dismissed at the end of May, according to Makgale.
On Saturday Lazarus would not comment saying he did not want to get involved. He referred questions to the police. Lazarus’s criminal case is still pending in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court.
Lazarus was accused of paying for Mdluli and his wife to visit Mdluli’s daughter, who was studying in China, using the slush fund as well as signing off on monthly rental instalments for one of Mdluli’s homes.
Mdluli has been accused of allegedly misusing the fund, state vehicles, safe houses and a police travel agency for himself and his family for more than 50 trips.
Mdluli also allegedly appointed his relatives to the crime intelligence agent programme without any undercover experience.
A man, who did not identify himself, answered Mdluli’s cellphone but said he was not available.