Former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli. Picture: PEGGY NKOMO
Former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli. Picture: PEGGY NKOMO

Former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli allegedly pocketed up to R7‚000 a month by renting out his Western Cape home as a safe house to the division he headed.

Mdluli also had exclusive access to an upmarket “safe house” in the Clearwater Estate‚ Boksburg‚ which came fully furnished at the expense of crime intelligence’s secret service account.

This is according to crime intelligence officer Col Dhanajaya Naidoo‚ who told the state-capture inquiry that he had personal knowledge of how safe houses were “abused” by Mdluli during his tenure in 2010.

He also told the chair of the state-capture inquiry, deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, that seven members of Mdluli’s family were appointed to the unit in 2010 at a cost to the state of R5m in salaries and other expenses. This was despite some of them spending their time shopping or visiting family.

Naidoo‚ who is in a witness protection programme‚ previously described himself as a “lackey” to Mdluli and Solomon Lazarus‚ the former finance officer in charge of the secret service account.

Appalsamy as ‘broker’

On Tuesday, Naidoo described an elaborate scheme involving Mdluli and businessman John Appalsamy. He said Appalsamy ran a company that acted as “broker” and appeared as the owner of properties that actually belonged to Mdluli. Appalsamy’s company would then lease Mdluli’s properties to crime intelligence as safe houses.

“I was informed by Lazarus that Mdluli wanted (crime intelligence) to rent his flat as a safe house. I was instructed by Lazarus to fly to Cape Town with Appalsamy‚ who was his personal friend‚” Naidoo said.

A lease agreement for three years was signed between Appalsamy’s company and crime intelligence for Mdluli’s Gordon’s Bay two-bedroom apartment. The lease took effect in February 2010 and the rent was R8‚500 a month. Thereafter‚ Naidoo would collect R7‚000 in cash from Appalsamy generated from that rent and hand it over to Mdluli. The remaining funds‚ according to Naidoo‚ were Appalsamy’s fee.

THE FORMER CRIME INTELLIGENCE HEAD LET HIS PROPERTIES TO HIS UNIT FOR USE AS SAFE HOUSES

Naidoo also admitted that he purchased about R50‚000 worth of furniture using funds from the secret service account for the flat.

He said the house in the exclusive Clearwater Estate in Boksburg was leased through Appalsamy’s company as a safe house. However‚ this was used by Mdluli only. Naidoo said he used about R100‚000 from the secret service account to purchase furniture and appliances for the house.

The 2010 illegal recruitment of friends and family allegedly saw 250 crime intelligence agents appointed without normal procedures, and was initiated by Mdluli, Lazarus and other senior officials.

Naidoo was put in charge of handling the seven “agents” who he identified as members of Mdluli’s family. He said four of Mdluli’s family members were appointed in the crime intelligence cyber-crime unit tasked to run a covert internet café.

“I was responsible for setting up this front company. The amount to set up the internet café was about R75,000. I don’t think they had a particular knowledge of computers. They went for a basic training course regarding computers. This was paid for out of the secret service account,” Naidoo said.  

Another family member hardly reported to work. “On numerous occasions when compiling these claims I would see from petrol slips that he traveled to Mpumalanga, another province in which he is based. He would be away from work for extended periods,” Naidoo said.

“On most occasions, they would not be at the office. They would either be at home or at the mall shopping. It was very rarely I found them at the office.”