Former crime intelligence head Lt-Gen Richard Mdluli. File photo by Steve Lawrence

Johannesburg - Suspended crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli may have been cleared of murder charges, but his colleagues want to nab him for alleged fraud and corruption, accusing him of looting a slush fund.

After an inquest, Boksburg Magistrate Jurg Viviers cleared Mdluli of the murder of Oupa Ramogibe, husband of Mdluli’s former lover, Tshidi Buthelezi.

The Sunday Independent understands that the Hawks will pounce on Mdluli within days of his returning to his office.

On Saturday Hawks spokesman Captain Paul Ramaloko would not be drawn on any re-arrest. But several senior officers within the Hawks, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the arrest would be linked to the unit’s investigation into fraud and corruption in crime intelligence.

They said the task team had found evidence that Mdluli used the secret account to buy two luxury vehicles, found at his wife’s home, said a Pretoria Hawks official close to the case.

And a senior Hawks official in Joburg said allegations that Mdluli had appointed relatives as crime intelligence agents would also be probed.

A crime intelligence official said: “You must remember that it is the very same investigation that resulted in the suspension of some very senior officials in crime intelligence.”

Some have pointed to the allegations that certain senior crime intelligence officers had bought farms with the slush fund and had registered farm workers as intelligence agents so their salaries could be drawn from the slush fund.

However, an official close to police legal processes said that even though he was not a fan of Mdluli, “this is victimisation”. He could not be named as he was not authorised to speak to the media. Mdluli could not be reached for comment. His lawyer, Ike Motloung, said his client had not been informed of a re-arrest.

Police spokesman Phuti Setati could not be drawn into commenting on Mdluli’s return to work and an internal disciplinary inquiry.

Jeremy Gauntlett of the NGO Freedom Under Law, said the ruling did not affect their High Court interdict preventing Mdluli from serving in the police service. He would have to be disciplined internally before returning to work, Gauntlett said.

Head of the crime and justice programme at the Institute for Security Studies, Gareth Newham, said the Mdluli saga was “far from over”, as Mdluli had to be cleared of all allegations before returning to work.

Mdluli had accused fired top cop Bheki Cele and other top cops of conspiring to have him removed. The inquiry into the plot found no substance to Mdluli's allegations.

In clearing Mdluli, Magistrate Viviers said the state’s suspicion that Mdluli may have organised Ramogibe’s death was not sufficient grounds to charge him.

“The force and intensity with which the investigation (was) resuscitated is a clear indication that top ranking officials saw this undisposed matter as an opportunity from which they could benefit. The matter was therefore marinated in a concoction…” Viviers said.

Sunday Independent