Former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli at the Johannesbrug High Court. File picture: Dimpho Maja/African News Agency(ANA)
Former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli at the Johannesbrug High Court. File picture: Dimpho Maja/African News Agency(ANA)

How crime intelligence slush fund was looted

By Mzilikazi wa Afrika, Piet Rampedi, Karabo Ngoepe Time of article published Sep 22, 2019

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Johannesburg - The police Crime Intelligence fund appears to have been looted to the tune of R5.3 million for sham operations.

An internal report seen by Independent Media indicates the division’s top brass looted money from the secret service account on the pretext that they were infiltrating the EFF and Fees Must Fall leaders.

Instead, some of the money was allegedly spent on luxury hotel accommodation at the Sheraton Pretoria Hotel and Drakensberg Sun Resort in KwaZulu-Natal and used to buy linen for Major-General Deena Moodley, head of the SAPS intelligence collection unit.

The looting was allegedly disguised as crime intelligence projects named Funda, Skarou and Gustav.

Looting of the Crime Intelligence slush fund took centre stage at the Zondo commission this week when a senior investigator for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (Hawks), Colonel Kobus Roelofse, testified that the unit’s former boss, Richard Mdluli, had abused his position and stolen millions of rands for his own benefit.

Roelofse said former Crime Intelligence finance officer Major-General Solly Lazarus used the unit’s secret fund to cover travel costs for his pastor.

He said Lazarus also paid for private flights for Mdluli and his family as well as other members of the unit. Mdluli’s children often flew as “secret agents” to the tune of R1.6m in 2010 and 2011.

Roelofse said Mdluli also used money for security upgrades worth R190 000 at his house in Boksburg and bought five luxury cars worth R3.15m between 2009 and 2011, including a Lexus and a BMW 530d.

Roelofse further alleged slush fund money was used to settle Mdluli’s outstanding car instalments totalling R90 000 and to settle payments on a car registered in the name of Sunday Times associate editor Ranjeni Munusamy.

He said an amount of R143 621 was paid to Wesbank’s vehicle finance account on July 30, 2008, through Atlantis Motors, a car dealership based in Centurion.

Tiso Blackstar, which owns the Sunday Times, said it had placed Munusamy on special leave while it investigated the matter.

The journalist said the allegations against her were baseless.

The misuse of the crime intelligence slush fund did not end when Mdluli’s and Lazarus’s looting sprees were exposed.

Official documents show that Major-General Moodley and Colonel Preadhashni Govender spent a night at the Drakensberg Sun Resort on December 30, 2016.

The duo claimed they were “attending a meeting by EFF members planning a rally” at Durban University of Technology in January 2017 as there was a “conspiracy to commit arson by EFF Student Command”.

But when an internal investigation established there was no EFF rally at the resort on that day, they changed their story and said they went there to meet an “unregistered informant” who had information on how former president Jacob Zuma was “being poisoned” and a plot to bomb some embassies in South Africa.

The internal investigation report stated that “it was further established that Colonel Govender and Major-General Moodley were alone at Drakensberg Sun”, and not with other people as was claimed.

A room was also booked at the Sheraton Pretoria Hotel for an alleged Crime Intelligence informant who was supposed to “monitor an EFF Student Command meeting” scheduled to take place at the five-star hotel from December 20 to 23, 2016.

However, cellphone records later revealed that Govender and Moodley stayed at the Sheraton Hotel while the informant “slept elsewhere”.

The hotel security manager’s affidavit confirmed that there had been no EFF meeting on the days in question.

Sources with intimate knowledge of Crime Intelligence operations claim R4m was spent paying alleged informants who supposedly supplied information on EFF rallies, meetings and strategies as well as Fees Must Fall student leaders.

The report indicates some of the informers didn’t exist, but:

* R50 000 was “paid” to an informer who “had information on South African Students Congress (Sasco) and EFF Student Command” on November 30, 2016. However, an internal investigation revealed that the informant was a Mozambican national who had arrived in South Africa on foot less than a month before the money was claimed on her behalf.

* R50 000 was “paid” to an informer on November 21, 2016, who “had infiltrated Sasco, EFF Student Command and the DA Student Organisation”, but an investigation established that the said source was a Malawi national who also arrived in South Africa on foot on August 8, 2016.

* R50 000 was “paid” to another informant on November 21, 2016, who “had knowledge of syndicate and students who were instigating violence within institutions of higher learning”, but the investigation revealed that the informer was another Malawian national who was in South Africa for just 14 days.

* R150 000 was paid as a “recruitment fee for the potential informer” on January 30, 2017, who had “access to the inner workings of EFF within KwaZulu-Natal as well as national”. The motivation claims “the informer has also won the confidence of the party leaders in KwaZulu-Natal by supporting the leaders on numerous occasions through donations in order to earn their trust”.

* R100 000 was paid as a “recruitment fee for the potential informer” who had access to “members of the EFF, who were former members of the ANC, who attempted to recruit members of South African Minority Rights Equality Movement’s to secure support of monitors in the coloured and Indian communities” on September 20, 2016.

Two “Chinese nationals” were also paid R60 000 each for “infiltrating” the EFF.

Another source within Crime Intelligence claimed “EFF unruly behaviour and public militancy” was used as the perfect opportunity by some rogue elements within the unit to loot the slush fund.

“We spent over R4m paying informers who don’t exist and nobody from management questioned this because some of the top brass also benefited from this,” he said.

On Saturday the implicated cops either declined to comment or questioned the motive of the whistle-blowers.

Colonel Preadhanshi Govender handed her phone over to a man who introduced himself as Tyrese, her brother. He said the allegations against her were baseless.

“People who have a vendetta against my sister have leaked this information,” said Tyrese.

Major-General Deena Moodley dropped the call.

A senior official within Criminal Intelligence on Saturday said the new boss, Lieutenant-General Peter Jacobs, “was cleaning up all the mess left by Richard Mdluli as well as all the rotten elements within the unit”.

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