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McBride questions evidence that led to Dramat’s suspension

Suspended Ipid head Robert McBride has questioned the evidence used to suspend former Hawks boss Lieutenant General Anwa Dramat and claimed that one of the people who made a statement was not even at the scene.

“The evidence here is basically to the effect of, someone saw someone at a particular spot and they saw others at two other spots, but if you check the cellphone records, the person was nowhere near the three spots,” McBride said on Wednesday.

“That has to make you think something is wrong and you have to start questioning the statements of those people who made the original statements.”

McBride is suspended from his position as head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid), an agency of the South African government responsible for investigating complaints against the South African Police Service and municipal police services.

He was speaking to reporters outside the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court after he, along with his co-accused, were released on bail.

McBride, Matthew Sesoko and Innocent Khuba face charges of fraud and defeating the ends of justice following their investigation of Dramat.

Dramat was accused of being involved in the illegal rendition of five Zimbabwean nationals in 2010. McBride allegedly changed an Ipid report implicating Dramat in the renditions in order to protect him.

McBride denied the allegations and said they had simply done their work. He said they had declined to prosecute Dramat due to a lack of evidence necessary to effect a successful prosecution.

“We did not clear Dramat and it is not our job to do so. The issue is for the courts to do that and in our case it is NPA which decides to prosecute or not.

“We make recommendations and submit the docket. On the basis of evidence before us, we had insufficient evidence to sustain a prosecution against Dramat, Sibiya, Thoka and Lebeya.

“It’s not only Dramat and Sibiya in which we recommended no prosecution, there are two other generals,” he said.

McBride maintained that the evidence before them could not sway them to reach a different conclusion.

“I couldn’t have recommended otherwise. There was just one possible way, based on the evidence before us.”

McBride questioned the timing of their case and said people were being targeted. He said the case against them was opened in May 2015, but it was only going to court now.

“The reason why it has taken over 10 months to get to court is an indication of something untoward. The timing is quite foolish. I don’t know what the intention is… It might be a hair-brained scheme, but it’s quite dangerous.”

McBride further claimed that there was interference in the case on the part of former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli. He claimed that he was caught in the middle of a fight that started before he was even appointed to head up Ipid.

“According to the affidavit I have seen, there is clearly a strong indication of some involvement of Richard Mdluli, and the target being Anwar Dramat. The decision to target Anwar Dramat began long before Robert McBride became the executive director of Ipid,” he said.

McBride did not give further details of the information contained in the affidavit. He maintained that he stood by the work they had done and was adamant that no illegal activities had occurred.

“I’m quite confident that the work we did was proper and was not illegal. The work that we did was correct, was proper and it’s the work similar to what police do every day. They change their minds based on different evidence,” he said.

Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi challenged McBride to produce his evidence in a court of law. Asked about recordings and the affidavit that McBride was referring to, Mulaudzi said they would not be discussing a matter that was still sub judice.

“If they have information, they must produce it in court. We are challenging those who are leaking the recordings to play the full conversations to see who is fooling who. We don’t want to be drawn into discussing the matter in public,” he said. – News24, Karabo Ngoepe

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