State Capture Inquiry: Nhleko denies claims of interfering with Ipid
Johannesburg - Former police minister Nkosinathi Nhleko has defended himself from allegations he had interfered with the independence of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) during his tenure.
Nhleko returned to the stand before the Zondo commission on Tuesday where he was responding to allegations levelled against him by Ipid officials, including former head of the directorate Robert McBride.
Last year, McBride told the commission Nhleko had suspended him in 2015 over the Ipid’s report on the renditions saga, which also saw former Hawks boss Anwa Dramat and his Gauteng counterpart Shadrack Sibiya suspended from their posts.
The saga related to the illegal deportation of Zimbabwean citizens, who were wanted for alleged crimes in that country, by SA law enforcement agencies. Some were later killed by the Zimbabwean police forces.
McBride said while the first, preliminary, report into the matter recommended Dramat and Sibiya be suspended and prosecuted for the saga, a final report which he submitted to Nhleko absolved them and instead recommended that then Hawks cross-border desk head Leslie Maluleke be held accountable.
Nhleko defended his decision to consider only the first report, and his subsequent suspension of McBride, and accused him of tampering with the original report in order to absolve Dramat and Sibiya.
Nhleko said he had tasked his advisers, “the reference group”, to investigate the discrepancies between the reports which involved demanding documents which were used during the Ipid investigation, before suspending Dramat, Sibiya and eventually McBride.
“That point has been articulated as the eagerness of the minister to interfere with the independence of Ipid and that is incorrect,” he said.
He insisted the Ipid reported to him in terms of the law and that he was entitled to ask any information pertaining to the work of its officials.
He said the first report had been concluded, signed off and sent to the National Prosecuting Authority for a decision to prosecute, despite it being called preliminary by McBride.
“There is no provision either by law or convention for that matter that you would then have a so-called second report which in itself does not nullify nor withdraw the first report, having similar status,” Nhleko said.
The inquiry continues