DA welcome Mdluli, Barnard reinstated charges

FILE PICTURE: Former police crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli (L) and co-accused Mthunzi-Omhle Mtunzi appear at the Palm. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

The DA welcomed the reinstatement of charges against suspended police crime intelligence head Lt-Gen Richard Mdluli and Colonel Heine Barnard on Friday.

“The Mdluli saga has compromised the integrity of a number of key state institutions and has left the reputation of the National Prosecuting Authority in tatters,” Democratic Alliance justice spokeswoman Glynnis Breytenbach said.¬†Breytenbach said the DA welcomed the decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Mxolisi Nxasana.

She said it came after the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled on Friday that charges against Mdluli be reinstated after they were dropped.

“The court also stated that action should be taken against the NPA’s deputy head Nomgcobo Jiba, and its serious commercial crimes unit head advocate Lawrence Mwrebi, for their part in dropping charges against him”, she said.

“This latest development may signal the first steps in the right direction in settling the Mdluli debacle once and for all.

“However, the NPA, under Nxasana’s baton, may still have obstacles to overcome in pursuit of a prosecution of Mdluli,” she said.

Netwerk24 reported on Friday that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) had informed Mdluli and Barnard that they would have to appear in the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court on April 1.

NPA spokesman Velekhaya Mgobhozi confirmed to Netwerk24 that both legal teams and legal representatives of Freedom Under Law had been informed that the prosecution against Mdluli would continue.

Netwerk24 reported that Mdluli and Barnard, also in criminal intelligence, would appear on the initial charges of fraud, corruption, and money laundering.

Mdluli and Barnard had faced charges of fraud relating to the alleged misuse of a crime intelligence fund.

The fraud case involved allegations about the purchase of two vehicles for his department and payments from a witness protection fund.

Netwerk24 reported that according to the charge sheet the fraud amounted to about R1.28 million.

The case against Mdluli and Barnard was withdrawn in December 2011 with no reasons given at the time.

Prior to becoming a DA MP, Breytenbach was employed by the NPA.

In April 2012, she was suspended from the NPA and later faced a lengthy disciplinary hearing on 15 charges, which included failing to act impartially while investigating the Kumba Iron Ore Sishen and Imperial Crown Trading mining rights issue.

She was accused of “improper relations” with Sishen’s lawyer Mike Hellens.

Breytenbach countered that the suspension was instead related to her opposition to a decision to withdraw fraud and corruption charges against Mdluli.

In May 2013, an NPA disciplinary hearing found her not guilty on all the charges and she was allowed to return to work, only to find she was to be transferred.

In the Labour Court, Breytenbach unsuccessfully applied to have her transfer overturned.

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