Heat on Mdluli as more NGOs hound him in court

Embattled crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli. (M&G)

Embattled crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli. (M&G)

The NGOs have filed a joint application to join Freedom Under Law’s (FUL) court application against Mdluli.

“In order to combat corruption it is essential that the law enforcement agencies are seen to be led by people of integrity, free of any taint of corruption,” said Corruption Watch’s director David Lewis in a statement on Saturday.

He said it was particularly concerning that Mdluli, as one of the country’s most senior police officials, was allegedly involved in serious acts of corruption and was under investigation for this.

“We strongly believe that this compromises the ability of the law enforcement authorities to combat corruption. This is the source of our interest in the relief sought in these proceedings,” Lewis said.

The two groups believed it was vital the allegations against Mdluli be fully investigated and any decisions made during the investigation be made public.

Freedom Under Law (FUL) on Wednesday said would go ahead with its court application for Mdluli’s suspension in spite of acting national police commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi announcing Mdluli’s suspension last Sunday.

The suspension was then lifted by the Labour Court in Johannesburg on Friday.

The SA Police Service brought an urgent court application in the Johannesburg Labour Court on Saturday afternoon to set aside the lifted suspension.

Mdluli’s suspension would not have been lifted if there was knowledge about factual misrepresentations that had been made, the Johannesburg Labour Court heard on Saturday.

“It will be argued that there was error…certain factual misrepresentations were made to the court,” said attorney William Mokhari, on behalf of acting national police commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi.

He said all the parties involved in the case were informed on Thursday afternoon that the matter would be heard on Monday, June 4.

“But, there were behind the scene activities… and at 15:20 on Friday, a mysterious court order surfaces and the suspension is lifted.”

“The order was improperly obtained by the respondent [Mdluli] behind the applicant’s back.”

Mdluli was granted an order lifting his suspension by the same court on Friday, despite the absence of South African Police Service (SAPS) lawyers in court.

The SAPS brought an urgent application less than 24-hours later to have the order set aside.

Mdluli was suspended for the second time on Sunday by Mkhwanazi.

Last year, Mdluli faced fraud and corruption charges relating to the misuse of a secret crime intelligence fund to buy luxury vehicles, and to hiring family members.

He also faced a murder charge for the death of his former lover’s husband, Oupa Ramogibe. The charges led to his initial suspension.

Grossly irregular
This year, all the charges were withdrawn and Mdluli was reinstated in March.
This was widely criticised by, among others, the Democratic Alliance and lobby group Freedom Under Law. Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa later moved him to a different division but Mkhwanazi subsequently opted to suspend him.

In an affidavit filed at the court, Mokhari said the circumstances surrounding Friday’s application was “grossly irregular” and bordered on fraud and fraudulent misrepresentation to the court.

“The application was set down for 4 June 2012… that was overtaken by the ruling of this court,” he said.

The matter should not have been heard as Mdluli’s counsel should have acquired consent from all the parties before going ahead with the case, he told the court.

“It cannot be done unilaterally.”

Mokhari further submitted that Mdluli’s attorney of record was Ike Motloung up until Saturday morning.

“For some inexplicable reason Mr (Graham) Moshoana comes into the picture, but not to the knowledge of the applicant or the other attorney.”

Motloung was seen sitting in the Labour Court’s public gallery on Saturday observing the case.

Sense of urgency
Moshoana told the court the application by the SAPS was not appropriate as it was based on “unfounded allegations”.

He submitted that the matter was not urgent and that there was an “alternative remedy”.

“Why should this court be troubled with this? ...They must show us why this is urgent,” he said.

“Why should we be here on a Saturday afternoon arguing this matter? I submit that it is not urgent and should be struck off the roll.”

Moshoana also noted that the SAPS lawyers were given an hour and 15 minutes notice before Friday’s application was heard.

Judgement, to have Mdluli’s lifted suspension set aside, has been reserved by the Johannesburg Labour Court.

Judgement would be handed down on Sunday at 10am. – Sapa.

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