Senior Hawks investigator Colonel Kobus Roelofse has told the commission of inquiry into state capture that former Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza did not want him to investigate former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli on fraud and corruption charges.
Roelofse was testifying for a third day before inquiry chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on Thursday.
He claimed when he informed Ntlemeza about the Mdluli investigation and what they were able to uncover, the former Hawks head “became very angry”.
“That triggered the reaction where he asked me who gave us the authority and why are we investigating. He was very angry and said, ‘I can’t trust you’. He didn’t really say I can’t investigate. It was clear to me he didn’t want me to continue with investigations.”
Roelofse said although he was not quoting Ntlemeza verbatim, his recollection of what he said was that “it is now our time to eat”.
“He said it happened in the previous government, people stole and why am I now investigating this. He said … it is now our time to eat.”
Mdluli faced charges of fraud, theft and corruption for allegedly pillaging the crime intelligence slush fund. The charges were withdrawn in 2011.
“He [Ntlemeza] was a friend of General Mdluli … I wasn’t surprised that he didn’t want us to continue [with the investigations]. I was surprised with the reason that he used,” Roelofse said.
“I remember him vividly standing up and grabbing his jacket and sitting back down again and saying, ‘I can only work with people I can trust’. To me it was not the type of reaction I expected.”
Roelofse is expected to return to the commission on Friday.