State Capture: Ipid handling of Zim renditions comes under scrutiny
The suspensions of top Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) over the handling of the Zimbabweans renditions saga came under scrutiny at the Zondo commission as former police minister Nkosinathi Nhleko concluded his evidence.
Commission chairperson, Deputy Justice Raymond Zondo, questioned why Nhleko decided to punish former Ipid head Robert McBride over his report which absolved former Hawks head Anwa Dramat and Gauteng Hawks head Shadrack Sibiya over the alleged illegal renditions of Zimbabwean citizens by SA law enforcement authorities.
McBride had accused Nhleko of choosing a preliminary report by Ipid which recommended that Dramat and Sibiya be considered for a criminal prosecution, while a final report had absolved them.
After instituting a private instigation into the discrepancies between the two reports, Nhleko suspended Dramat as he accused Ipid under his leadership of tempering with the first report, which was concluded before McBride took office in 2014, to absolve Dramat and Sibiya.
McBride and Ipid head of investigations Mathew Sesoko were later suspended.
Justice Zondo however grilled Nhleko over his decision, adding that McBride had the right to ensure that the Ipid report contained recommendations that he could justify.
“If the earlier report had a recommendation that he felt could not be justified or hand an analysis that he felt could not be justified, he may have said that ‘well, this one that will have my signature must contain what I can stand for and what I can justify’. What is wrong with that? “Justice Zondo asked.
Nhleko insisted that McBride was wrong by tempering with the first investigation without providing clear justifications.
“The investigation clearly shows that there was no additional information in the second report. In fact, what happened is that there were certain paragraphs and material content that was expunged from the first report to construct the second report,” Nhleko said.
Justice Zondo, however, differed with Nhleko, saying his expressed concern only revealed that he disagreed with McBride’s approach and analysis regarding what the final report had to contain and recommend.
He questioned why Nhleko moved to punish McBride with a suspension for holding a different view.
While Nhleko argued that investigation reports were not about views, Justice Zondo insisted that investigators did take a view on the content of the statements they collected and analysed as part of their investigations.
“They take a view on the content of those statements to say ‘what do I make of this evidence and do I think this evidence reveals that this person committed a crime or this person acting in breach of the rules of the employer’. When they make recommendations as the Ipid act says they must make recommendations, that recommendation is the view they take,” Justice Zondo said.
He said people could take different views and make different recommendations as part of their final analysis of the investigation.
“When it comes to Mr Sesoko and Mr McBride, it seems to me that there is room to say they expressed, to the extent that they were party to the final report, views. Some of those views or their approach might have differed from (Ipid investigator Innocent) Kuba’s approach alone writing that other report and you did not agree with their approach in the second report…but it is the view they took and if it is the view they took, must they be punished?” Justice Zondo asked.
Nhleko was on Tuesday asked why he did not seek clarity from McBride before appointing private law firm, Werkmans Attorneys, to probe the matter, resulting in the suspensions.
The inquiry continues.