Suspended crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli ‘relieved of duties’

Controversial suspended crime intelligence boss Lieutenant-General Richard Mdluli has been “relieved from his duties with immediate effect” a few months before his retirement, following a mutual agreement announced Police Minister Fikile Mbalula on Wednesday.

Mdluli has been on suspension since 2011 with full pay while on trial for intimidation, kidnapping, assault and murder in 1998.

While Mdluli was on suspension, he continued earning his salary and receiving bonuses which cost the department millions.

Mbalula said Mdluli’s departure will bring some stability to the crime fighting unit.

He said he had instructed newly-appointed national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole to appoint a new divisional commissioner.

“I have instructed General Sitole to henceforth set out to appoint a fit and proper man or woman into the position without further delay. Again, I am saying we have no time to waste time,” Mbalula explained.

In a statement, chairperson of the parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Police Francois Beukman said: “Lieutenant General Mdluli’s discharge will enable police management to appoint a permanent leader with the requisite skills, energy and innovative plans to guide the division to deliver on its mandate. The stability brought by the appointment of a permanent leader is essential if the unit is to add value in intelligence-driven policing.”

He said the committee has long been worried about the leadership vacuum in a key position, as well as Mdluli’s lengthy suspension with full benefits, without the conclusion of a disciplinary process.

On Tuesday, another crime intelligence police officer was arrested by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) as he met his parole officer at the department of correctional services in Pretoria.

He is accused of using fraudulent invoices to claim money back from a secret service account for alleged purchases of blinds and curtains for safe houses in Pretoria. The amount claimed is to the tune of R563 005.

The officer has also been reportedly linked to the R200-million heist at OR Tambo International Airport that took place in March 2017.

The crime intelligence operative was arrested in 1994 and convicted in 1996 for armed robbery after losing an appeal.

He ended up serving only two of a 10-year prison sentence from 2013 to 2015 and was re-employed by the South African Police Services after he was released on parole. 

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