Former Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) head Robert McBride on Monday told the commission of inquiry into state capture that an important piece of evidence in the case of a suspect who died following alleged torture by police went missing during his suspension.
Ipid was investigating a case involving Major-General Ntebo Jan Mabula from North West.
McBride was suspended from March 24, 2015, and returned to work on October 19, 2016. Former police minister Nathi Nhleko suspended McBride for “altering” the preliminary report in the rendition of Zimbabweans.
Israel Kgamanyane was appointed the acting executive director following McBride’s suspension.
McBride told the commission on Monday that when Kgamanyane took up the position he requested files for a number of cases, including the one involving Mabula, and another involving former Hawks boss Berning Ntlemeza and another in which Durban-based businessman Thoshan Panday was a suspect.
Panday reportedly had business links to direct family members of former president Jacob Zuma.
On his return from suspension, McBride learnt that “an important piece of information” in the Mabula case had gone missing. The evidence had allegedly been given to a North West provincial head.
The evidence was a recording of one of the suspects in the matter admitting to their involvement in the alleged torture.
“Fortunately a copy was kept of it and the case was resuscitated on my return,” McBride said.
Meanwhile, the Panday matter relates to a R60 million contract to supply temporary accommodation for police members in KwaZulu-Natal during the 2010 World Cup.
The police officers implicated in the matter included a provincial commissioner, McBride said.
The Hawks initially investigated the case until former KZN Hawks boss Lieutenant General Johan Booysen in around October or November 2014 complained to Ipid about “interference” in the investigation, McBride said.
Also under investigation by Booysen was police Colonel Navin Madhoe, who allegedly tried to bribe Booysen with R1.5 million to stop the investigation.
McBride said Ipid worked on the case until he and his colleagues Innocent Khuba and Matthews Sesoko’s suspensions.
To his knowledge, there had only been one court appearance for the four cases implicating Panday, McBride said.
Furthermore, according to a statement by Crime Intelligence’s Colonel Brian Padayachee, Panday was allegedly “assisted by several police officials in obtaining and accumulating crime scene photographs to conspire against Maj-Gen Booysen. These very photographs were subsequently leaked to the media and published in the Sunday Times, which eventually led to the criminal charges and suspension of Maj-Gen Booysen.”
McBride said the accused was asked to make representations in the bribery matter which he said was “clear cut” and if successfully prosecuted would have led to more prosecutions.
He added that there has been no prosecution yet, though there was evidence on file. No case involving Panday had been finalised, McBride said.
(Additional reporting, Amanda Watson)