Dropping Mdluli’s charges just didn’t make sense, says Roelofse
Lawrence Mrwebi dropped a case against then crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli, which Kobus Roelofse had ‘never encountered in his long police career’
Former specialised commercial crime unit head Lawrence Mrwebi deliberately dropped a 2012 case against then crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli, according to Hawks investigator Kobus Roelofse.
Giving evidence at the state-capture commission of inquiry chaired by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo on Thursday, Roelofse said he had never encountered such a decision in his long career in the police service.
Mrwebi maintained there was no evidence against Mdluli — who was put on suspension pending the outcome of the matter — despite the chief prosecutor and investigating officers giving evidence that there was a prima facie case, ready to be prosecuted.
“It was strange. I was fortunate enough to be part of the Scorpions and I worked closely with prosecutors and I have never encountered something like this before,” Roelofse said. “It just didn’t make sense to me. This was a deliberate attempt not to continue with the investigation. It was as thoug the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) says to [the police] that the matter is closed, the matter would not be investigated further. In this regard, to me, it was quite deliberate to stop the investigation.”
Some of the charges were reinstated, courtesy of a 2015 Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) judgment. The SCA ordered the reinstatement of charges against Mdluli. It also ordered that action be taken against the NPA’s deputy head Nomgcobo Jiba, and Mwrebi for their part in dropping charges against him.
After the trial, South Gauteng High Court Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng, on July 30, found Mdluli and his co-accused, Mthembeni Mthunzi, guilty of the 1999 kidnapping and assault of Oupa Ramogibe — who was married to Mdluli’s former lover, Tshidi Buthelezi.
Mokgoatlheng found Mdluli guilty of four counts of intimidation, two counts of kidnapping, two counts of common assault, and two counts of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
Mthunzi was found guilty of two counts of kidnapping, two counts of common assault and two counts of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
Both were acquitted of intimidating Buthelezi’s friend, Alice Manana, and defeating the ends of justice. Sentencing was on Thursday postponed to November 8.
Roelofse earlier testified that he tried to contact Tiso Blackstar journalist Ranjeni Munusamy three times in 2014 to inquire about information he had in connection with the payment of a vehicle registered in her name with funds from crime intelligence’s secret service fund.
He said on Wednesday that R143,621 was allegedly paid into a WesBank vehicle finance account in settlement of a vehicle registered in Munusamy’s name in 2008, when she was self-employed. He also said he had learnt of the alleged payments while investigating claims of corruption involving crime intelligence officers and a Centurion-based vehicle dealership, Atlantis Motors.
“The vehicle in question is registered to N Munusamy, registered to an address used by the same person at the time,” he said. “In 2014, I did in fact contact [Munusamy] and I informed her of what I had found and asked her for her version and explanation. I spoke about three times to her, she then said she would speak to her legal representative. I never received any communication after that.”
Responding earlier to Roelofse’s testimony, Munusamy denied the allegations and she said she was co-operating fully with the commission.
Munusamy has been placed on special leave to allow her to deal with the allegations. She was not a Tiso Blackstar employee at the time of the alleged payment.