/ 8 February 2021

NPA undeterred by Mdluli’s mysterious illness in R69m fraud case

Dodgy past: Former crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli.
Dodgy past: Former crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli. (Cornel van Heerden/ Gallo)

The unknown illness of convicted former South African Police Service (SAPS) crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli won’t deter the R69-million fraud and corruption case against him.

This was the assertion made by the state on Monday, as an ill Mdluli once again could not attend his court matter at the Pretoria commercial crimes court over the alleged four-year plundering of a secret SAPS intelligence fund.

Mdluli, former crime intelligence manager Heine Barnard, and former senior officer Solomon Lazarus face a combined 19 counts of corruption, fraud, contravention of the Prevention of Corrupt Activities Act, theft and defeating the ends of justice. 

The three are accused of using the Intelligence Services Act to create a covert company, Universal Technical Enterprises (UTE), for their own alleged personal benefit through an account known as “201barut” from March 2008 to March 2012.

This is according to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) charge sheet, which stated that the 201barut account was not known to the auditor general’s office. The Intelligence Services Act legally provides for the creation of front companies for covert operations. 

The three former top cops are accused of abusing the secret fund through the purchase of upmarket homes, luxury cars and exclusive overseas holidays, as well as the alleged appointment of relatives as intelligence agents, with senior ranks. 

On Monday, Sindi Twala, spokesperson for the Investigating Directorate, which is located in NPA head Shamila Batohi’s office, said the state was not informed as to the nature of Mdluli’s illness. 

Twala added that the state wanted to bring Mdluli to court, and that it was out of prosecutors’ hands that the former intelligence boss could not join his two co-accused. 

“The medical reason [for Mdluli’s absence] was made known to the [magistrate]. We [the state], however, are not privy to it. The matter was postponed to 19 February for a pretrial conference.

“None of the accused will be present on that date. On 4 March, the matter will return with all accused present,” Twala said.

She stressed that the NPA was happy with the speed of the case, and that the state was ready to prosecute. 

Mdluli is already serving an effective five-year jail term after being sentenced in 

September last year for kidnapping, assaulting and intimidating Oupa Ramogibe in 1998. 

Ramogibe subsequently died following the kidnapping. 

Barnard and Solomon, Mdluli’s co-accused, who have since been removed from the SAPS, are out on bail.