Corruption Watch has followed the Richard Mdluli case almost since the day the organisation launched.
For years Mdluli, the former head of police crime intelligence, has evaded justice relating to charges of, among others, murder, attempted murder, assault and corruption.
In March 2011 he was charged with murder, attempted murder, intimidation, kidnapping, assault, grievous bodily harm, conspiracy to commit murder and defeating and/or obstructing the course of justice. These charges were set aside in November 2012, with magistrate Jurg Viviers ruling that Ramogibe’s murder by Mdluli was not the only possible explanation. He cleared Mdluli, and three men accused with him, of any involvement in the murder.
Mdluli also faces charges of fraud, corruption and money-laundering – these were brought in September 2011 and withdrawn in December 2011.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has confirmed that it will reinstate those corruption charges – a move that has been welcomed. Mdluli will now be charged along with Colonel Heine Barnard, a senior financial official in the crime intelligence unit. According to media reports, the two must appear in the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court on 1 April.
Netwerk24 reported that the charge sheet indicates an amount of R1 283 989,01. According to Netwerk24, the NPA is also still investigating a case of perjury against advocates Lawrence Mrwebi, Nomgcobo Jiba and Sibongile Mzinyathi, for their handling of the Mdluli case.
Ensuring that justice is done
Corruption Watch, together with Social Justice Coalition, had planned to intervene as a co-applicant after lobby group Freedom Under Law (FUL) opened a case in June 2012. Here it challenged the decisions taken to withdraw the various criminal and disciplinary charges against Mdluli, including the withdrawal of corruption charges.
FUL sought to have four crucial decisions overturned:
- the decision taken by the NPA’s Lawrence Mrwebi on 5 December 2011 to withdraw the corruption and related charges against Mdluli;
- the decision taken by Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi of the SAPS, on 29 February 2012, to withdraw the disciplinary proceedings;
- the decision taken by Mkhwanazi, on 31 March 2012, to reinstate Mdluli as the head of crime intelligence within SAPS;
- the decision taken on 1 February 2012 by Andrew Chauke, the NDPP for south Gauteng, to withdraw the murder and related charges.
The two co-applicants later withdrew their application, fearing that it would cause delays. FUL has been informed of the reinstatement of charges.
The Supreme Court of Appeal ruled in April 2014 that the corruption and fraud charges must proceed. Mdluli's reinstatement to his former position, after being suspended, was also overturned. The appeal was made in response to a September 2013 ruling in the Pretoria High Court, which held that the criminal charges against Mdluli must be reinstated, and that the disciplinary case against him must also resume.
The Supreme Court confirmed the setting aside of:
- the decision by Mrwebi, the head of the NPA's Specialised Commercial Crime Unit, to withdraw criminal charges of fraud and corruption against Mdluli;
- the decision by the national police commissioner, Mkhwanazi at the time, to withdraw disciplinary proceedings against Mdluli;
- the decision by the commissioner to terminate Mdluli's suspension from office and to reinstate him in his position.
Speaking to SABC News at the time, FUL chairperson Johann Kriegler welcomed the ruling. "We certainly got the substance we were looking for and that was to stop the continuation of General Mdluli in office."