The “abuse of the Secret Service slush fund” case involving high-profile and senior ex-Crime Intelligence personnel has been transferred to the High Court in Pretoria and will be heard on 10 November.
Former Crime Intelligence divisional commissioner Richard Mdluli, its ex-chief financial officer Solomon Lazarus and former supply chain manager Heine Barnard appeared before the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court yesterday. They appeared in connection with multiple counts of fraud, corruption, theft and defeating the administration of justice charges.
While they all worked in Crime Intelligence, it was Heine and Lazarus who allegedly worked with the facilitation of the Secret Services fund. The trio will appear, for the first time in nine years, to face charges with regard to the slush fund.
This case was initially enrolled in 2011 and then struck off the roll because the defence stated the accused would not have a fair trial as a result of the lack of access to then classified Secret Services procurement documents.
Investigating Directorate (ID) head advocate Hermione Cronje said: “Immediately when I took up office in May 2019, my team, made up of assigned [Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation] investigators, brought up the request for declassification to the National Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi and national police commissioner Khehla Sithole. The investigators were frustrate with the long delays.
“I’m pleased that the defence will [now] receive those documents in order to prepare for trial.”
This is one of several cases the ID has enrolled emanating from the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.
‘’There is a serious appetite from law enforcement to finalise cases which had been stalled for nefarious reasons ” added Cronje.
“We must state that we are systematically moving up the ladder.”