Advocate Lawrence Mrwebi File picture: Etienne Creux
Johannesburg - Fraud charges against former Crime Intelligence boss Richard Mdluli were withdrawn because his arresting officers did not have the power to arrest a head of crime intelligence.

This was the evidence of advocate Jan Ferreira, a senior deputy director of public prosecutions in Pretoria, testifying before the Mokgoro Inquiry on Thursday. The inquiry is probing the fitness of senior NPA prosecutors advocate Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi following their alleged involvement in the withdrawal of fraud, corruption and murder charges against Mdluli.

Mdluli had allegedly in 2010 traded in his 730D BMW under the pretext Crime Intelligence needed a 3 series and a 5 series BMW. According to the charge sheet, Mdluli knew his private vehicle could not be traded in for an official one. Mdluli was also not entitled to a discount. Police found the conduct of Mdluli and Heine Johannes Barnard, who allegedly facilitated the trade-in, demonstrated acts of corruption and fraud.

Mdluli was arrested and charged with fraud and corruption in July 2011.Barnard was arrested in November.

The inquiry heard Mdluli’s legal team made representations to Mrwebi - who was the special director of the Specialised Commercial Crime Unit - claiming his arrest was unlawful and officers abused their powers during an operation at his house.

According to Ferreira’s testimony, such representations were supposed to have been made directly to the director of public prosecutions in Pretoria and not Mrwebi.

He said Mrwebi undermined prosecutorial policy directives and ordered the withdrawal of charges against Mdluli and Barnard on December 4, 2011. 

The hearing continues.

Political Bureau