Anwa Dramat. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Anwa Dramat. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

Former Hawks boss Anwa Dramat has denied ever telling suspended senior National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) advocate Lawrence Mrwebi that the auditor-general (AG) found nothing wrong with the crime intelligence unit’s secret slush fund.  

Mrwebi, the suspended head of the Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit, previously used this as the reason for saying the investigation into fraud and corruption charges against former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli should not proceed.

Dramat briefly testified on Thursday at the inquiry into Mrwebi and suspended deputy director of public prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba’s fitness to hold office.

The decision to drop the charges against Mdluli has been a focal point of the inquiry. Dramat was the head of the Hawks, when  Mdluli was charged with fraud and corruption charges in 2011.

It was alleged that Mdluli and Col Hein Barnard, who was head of procurement in the crime intelligence unit, unlawfully benefited from the acquisition of state vehicles. The charges against Mdluli were withdrawn by Mrwebi later in 2011, despite the prosecuting team and the investigators being adamant that there was a case Mdluli had to answer for.

Mrwebi has now argued that he never meant for the charges to be dropped completely, despite witnesses before the inquiry saying this was what they understood he was saying. 

Dramat was asked specifically about allegations made by Mrwebi in a  memorandum given to former NPA boss Mxolisi Nxasana in July 2014.  

In an extract from the memorandum, Mrwebi told Nxasana that it became obvious following a meeting on April 1 2012 that there were “no prospects that the investigations against Mdluli would proceed any further as, according to Gen Dramat, the AG who examined the financial statements and issued an audit report in respect of the secret service account did not find anything wrong with the account”.

Dramat was adamant that he did not make any reference to the AG in their meeting, as he would not have been privy to the annual report. He was also emphatic that he believed then that there was a case against Mdluli and that his struggle “has always been to have the matter properly investigated ... That is why I could not have said that the matter was found to be in order by another body.” 

Mervyn Rip, counsel for Mrwebi, told Dramat that his version would be that Dramat said in passing in the 2012 meeting that the AG did not pick up any irregularities in the audit.

Dramat again denied that he would have said that.  

Col Kobus Roelofse, who was the Hawks investigator on the matter and reported to Dramat at that stage, told the inquiry during cross-examination last week that a memo by Mrwebi clearly stated that the police were not entitled to investigate the matter.

Roelofse then said that Mrwebi — who initially argued that the charges be withdrawn because the police did not have the mandate to investigate the matter — was told it did not form part of the inspector-general of intelligence’s work.

Roelofse said Mrwebi was then told that the AG had investigated the matter and that it was closed.