Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) head Robert McBride has denied claims that he is plotting to overthrow President Jacob Zuma or assassinate Hawks boss Lieutenant-General Mthandazo “Berning” Ntlemeza.
Speaking to the media in Johannesburg on Tuesday, McBride dismissed the allegations levelled against him by Gauteng Hawks head Major-General Prince Mokotedi as baseless, saying they should be rejected.
“First thing to mention is the allegation made is based on a supposed set of information, hearsay of hearsay, from a single source and the statement that is being made must be rejected completely that there is any illegal activity that Ipid and its investigators are involved in,” he said.
It is understood Mokotedi laid charges of treason and conspiracy to murder at the Bedfordview SAPS on Monday.
In the firing line are McBride, former Gauteng Hawks boss Shadrack Sibiya, suspended crime intelligence agent Captain Candice Coetzee, and private investigator Paul O’Sullivan.
Mokotedi alleges in his explosive affidavit that O’Sullivan was trying to force President Zuma to step down from office by orchestrating a revolt against him.
He also accused the group of plotting to assassinate him and acting national police commissioner Kgomotso Phahlane.
McBride has questioned the timing of the Hawks’ case against him as it was opened late on Monday night, hours after the watchdog body’s investigators took a warning statement from Ntlemeza.
“Yesterday, warning statements were being taken from General Ntlemeza relating to a number of cases and complaints that were made against him.”
He also said during Ntlemeza’s interaction with Ipid investigators he threatened them, saying they too would soon be investigated.
“During the taking of the warning statement, Ntlemeza indicated that ‘this is just a game, you are taking my warning statement now. We’ll be taking your warning statement tomorrow’.”
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi confirmed the police were investigating the matter.
“This stems from serious allegations about a plot against senior government officials, the information of which was sourced from reliable sources.
“We are, however, not in a position to divulge the contents of the affidavit, the alleged senior government officials targeted and the so-called plotters,” he said.
However, Ipid spokesperson Moses Dlamini on Tuesday said a report by the Mail & Guardian, detailing a secret meeting between O’Sullivan, McBride and Sibiya at a house that once belonged to Czech fugitive Radovan Krecjir, was being done to mislead the public.
“The concern is that people in high office are going to this extent to falsely implicate people in wrongdoing … It is the same pattern that we have seen since the rendition saga began. It is being repeated by the very same characters‚” Dlamini said.
The affidavit apparently also claims that members of AfriForum and the official opposition Democratic Alliance were also involved in the surreptitious meeting targeted to identify certain people “as targets for vexatious criminal investigations and shaming in the media”.
The list in the affidavit includes:
• Acting national police commissioner Kgomotso Phahlane.
• Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza.
• Gauteng Hawks boss Prince Mokotedi.
• National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Advocate Shaun Abrahams.
• Newly appointed State Security Agency head Arthur Fraser.
McBride also challenged Mokotedi to do a polygraph test on live television to prove his innocence after the latter levelled serious criminal charges against him.
“Here’s the thing. I would like to challenge the complainant in this matter, General Prince Mokotedi that him and I do a polygraph live on TV at the same time. We will pay for it,” McBride told journalists.
“No matter what you do, the truth cannot be changed by smoke and mirrors. This is a hairbrained scheme, similar to the fire pool story. We have no fear about this. It will collapse like the rendition matter. We are unafraid, we are unintimidated.”
– Additional reporting by ANA