Former Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) head Robert McBride on Thursday told the commission of inquiry into state capture that the report that former minister of police Nathi Nhleko used to lay criminal charges against him and others had been hurried in its completion.
Nhleko appointed law firm Werkmans on February 23, 2015, to investigate McBride and his colleagues Matthew Sesoko and Innocent Khuba. The law firm issued its final report on April 24, 2015.
The trio, however, was only charged on March 15, 2016, on charges of fraud and defeating the ends of justice. However, the charges were later withdrawn.
The charges related to the alleged altering of an Ipid report on the illegal rendition of Zimbabweans in 2010.
The matter relates to the abduction and illegal deportation of at least four Zimbabweans.
During November 2010 and January 2011, several Zimbabweans were allegedly abducted and handed over to Zimbabwean police by their South African counterparts.
Zimbabwean security forces killed Witness Ndeya. Shepherd Tshuma was tortured and released. Prichard Tshuma is also believed to have been killed. Gordon Dube, who was suspected of involvement in the murder of Bulawayo serious fraud squad head Lawrence Chatikobo, was handed to Zimbabwe’s police.
Dramat, former Gauteng Hawks head Shadrack Sibiya and Hawks cross-border desk head Leslie “Cowboy” Maluleke were investigated in relation to the operation.
An initial report on the matter recommended that they all be charged criminally. However, after taking up office as the Ipid head, McBride was briefed on the case, reviewed the docket, and completed a second report – without having seen the provisional report – which did not make such a recommendation, McBride told the commission on Thursday.
On Friday, McBride told the commission that when the law instituted its investigation, it attempted to circumvent him on two occasions when contacting staff at the Ipid.
He said after his suspension of March 25, 2015, Khuba received several calls from Nhleko’s assistant requesting that the former should cooperate with Werkmans and that later Khuba was called directly by Nhleko who asked the former to travel to Cape Town.
Nhleko suspended McBride for allegedly misleading the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) by allegedly altering the Ipid’s original rendition reports implicating Sibiya and Dramat.
McBride described the calls to Khuba as suspicious, strange, and as an act of desperation by the minister to prove that he, McBride, had transgressed.
Later Khuba was suspended, disciplined, and dismissed on spurious grounds, McBride said.
McBride told the commission that he took issue with the compilation of the report and its outcome, saying it had jumped to a conclusion by saying all three of them – McBride, Khuba, and Sesoko – should be charged because the law firm did not know who had allegedly altered the report.
He added that he also took issue with the firm investigating Ipid, an independent body when it had limited knowledge on the matter.
“My view in this instance [is that] they got it wrong, they jumped to a conclusion and clearly to me it was a hurried report,” McBride said, adding that it was meant to “nail” them.