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Judgement reserved in Mdluli bail application

The judgement in the bail application of crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli and his co-accused was reserved until April 20 at the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

The defence argued that the state had no forensic or ballistic evidence of the decade-old crime and based its argument on suspicion.

Representing Mdluli, Ike Motloung said there was never a legal basis to arrest the four as there was not a shred of evidence against them. He said the arrests were unlawful and the warrants were authorised to create a scandal against senior police members.

Mdluli, Lieutenant Colonel Mtunzi-Omhle Mthembeni Mtunzi (52) court orderly Samuel Dlomo (49) and Colonel Nkosana Sebastian Ximba (38) stand accused of killing Oupa Ramogibe in 1999.

Mdluli had allegedly been in a relationship with Ramogibe’s wife before she was married.

In closing arguments in the four’s bail application, Motloung questioned why a witness had only come forward now.

“Why now only? This is not a new allegation,” he said.

He asked why the state only now opted to arrest the four, 12 years after the crime.

“After the post mortem, why was there no inquest?”

Making things easier
The defence said Mdluli was the state’s main target and their case was based on one key witness, Alice Manana, who claimed she was kidnapped and assaulted by three of the accused, including Mdluli.

Motloung said that did not constitute murder and his client had a right to bail even though the state suggested he could tamper with evidence.

“Does this mean that all high ranking police officers must not get bail because they have the means to tamper with evidence?

“My client had 12 years and could have dealt with the witnesses one by one. Why didn’t he take them out then, it would have made things easier.”

He said the state’s case was weak, unrealistic, ridiculous and reminiscent of the case of Glenn Agliotti, who was cleared of the murder of mining magnate Brett Kebble after a lengthy high-profile trial.

“The state has stooped very low and my client has nothing to hide, that’s why he handed himself in.”

‘State is being blamed’
Mdluli denied attacking Manana and allegations that stolen dockets were found in his locker. He said there had been no mention of any action taken against him after the dockets were found.

The state argued that the conspiracy allegation by Mdluli had nothing to do with the murder.

“The state is not in a position to deny or confirm this conspiracy allegation, however it has nothing to do with this matter,” said state prosecutor Kholeka Gcaleka in closing arguments for Mdluli’s bail application.

“The question is did this lead to the fabrication of these charges?”

She said that some of the conspirators named against Mdluli were attorneys from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

“This is not a trial, it’s a bail application. Now the state is being blamed for doing its work,” she said.

She said it was clear that there was no relationship between the conspiracy theory and the merits of the case.

Conspiracy
Mdluli had argued the charges against him were fabricated as a result of a conspiracy against him by two senior police officials who tried to derail his promotion. Gcaleka said nowhere in the classified Ntemeleza report, handed in to court by Mdluli as evidence, did it mention that charges were trumped up.

“It just says that people were conspiring against him.”

Gcaleka said Mdluli was relying heavily on a report that conveniently cleared him only.

She said the charges against Mdluli existed in 1999, but because he was in charge of the unit investigating the matter, he exercised his influence and the charges disappeared. The state said Mdluli was using the report and a letter to President Jacob Zuma to paint the picture that he had no knowledge of the murder.

Mdluli, in a letter to Zuma, said former president Thabo Mbeki’s camp was trying to take over police intelligence ahead of the 2012 African National Congress (ANC) conference. He also said that his cell phone had been tapped and he wanted Zuma to look into it. It claimed too that junior intelligence members were trying to link him to the love triangle murder.

He said he had been investigated three times and on two occasions exonerated.

He said Ximba was an active ANC member and played an important role in the Polokwane conference when Zuma was elected after a bruising battle with Mbeki for the leadership of the ANC.

A loyal ANC member
Ximba was also the bodyguard of ANC veteran Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

“[He] also played an important role during the president’s trying times with his engagement with the NPA.

“The questions now [is] what and how do they want to use the intelligence environment to affect the 2012 build-up to the ANC.”

Mdluli went on to say he had requested an independent body to investigate the matter.

“I find it disturbing and embarrassing that I have been investigated for no apparent reason, especially when initiated by persons who have proven themselves disloyal.”

Mdluli said he was a loyal ANC member.

Gcaleka said Mdluli enjoyed more rights than other South Africans and had managed to dodge the law for years.

She said people had been victimised, and due to the nature and gravity of the case, bail should be denied to all four accused.

She submitted that the accused would disturb public order and undermine the judiciary if released. — Sapa

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