State grows impatient with delays in Richard Mdluli slush fund corruption case
Pretoria - Former crime intelligence cross Richard Mdluli eventually appeared in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Friday after he failed to do so on four previous occasions.
His third failure to appear in court resulted in Judge Bert Bam issuing a warrant of arrest against him.
Mdluli is already serving a five-year jail term for the assault and kidnapping of his former lover Tshidi Buthelezi and two others following an incident in 1998.
He is now due to stand trial in the high court on charges of fraud, corruption and theft, related to the police’s secret slush fund.
The investigative directorate said his constant failure to appear in court resulted in his co-accused, Heine Barnard and Solomon Lazarus having their matter postponed until June 18 for a pretrial conference to pave the way for the case.
Mdluli will meanwhile appear in court again on April 6, when the investigative directorate will bring an application to bar Mdluli from creating further delays in the matter and to ensure that he joined his co-accused for the matter to be heard later this year.
The directorate said that Mdluli, though his lawyer, repeatedly stated that he intended to apply for funding from the State because the crimes he is facing, pertain to the time when he was still employed by the State.
All three accused face charges related to the alleged abuse of the police secret slush fund.
The allegations include payment of private trips to China and Singapore by Mdluli, the private use of witness protection houses and the leasing out of his private residence to the State to pay his bond.
The State will meanwhile on April 6 ask for an order that Mdluli must finalise each and every one of his interlocutory applicants, including asking for State funding for his trial by June 18 so that it could go ahead on October 4.
It is asked that if Mdluli once again dragged his heels in getting this trial underway, it must be ordered that it went ahead with or without him having legal representation.
Mark McLean of the Priority Crime Investigation unit of the SAPS, said in an affidavit that this matter had been dragging its heels for 10 years and has a long litigation history.
Charges were initially withdrawn in 2011. It was reinstated in 2015 following a ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeal.
It is said while the earlier delays were not all the fault of Mdluli, the recent delays were because of him.
While he had to appear in court on four previous occasions, he had all kinds of excuses, including that his legal team could not consult with him in jail.
McLean said it was time for the proceedings to start and no other delays should be tolerated.
Judge Bam also sharply questioned on the previous court appearance the fact that Mdluli simply did not pitch at court. He insisted at the time that he be brought before court yesterday or face the consequences.