AGE OF ACCOUNTABILITY
NPA granted R13m restraint order against paroled ex-spy boss Richard Mdluli and co-accused in graft case
The Gauteng high court has granted the National Prosecuting Authority Asset Forfeiture Unit a restraining order of over R13-million against corruption and fraud-accused Mdluli and his co-accused. This means that all their assets and motor vehicles have been frozen.
The order relates to the charges against Richard Mdluli over gross abuse of a police slush fund. Mdluli and co-accused Heine Barnard (former Crime Intelligence supply chain manager) and Solomon Lazarus (former chief financial officer of the State Security Agency) face an array of charges including fraud, corruption and contravening the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act. The alleged crimes were committed between 2008 and 2012.
The allegations relate to private trips to Singapore and China, abuse of witness-protection houses, the leasing of Mdluli’s private residence to the state to pay his bond and the use of witness protection property for personal use.
The order against Mdluli, Barnard, Lazarus and others was granted on 1 June 2022 and served on the parties on Tuesday 2 August. The restraint is premised on the fraud, theft and corruption case reinstated by the state on 26 August 2020.
Read in Daily Maverick: “A report in Daily Maverick describes the indictment against Mdluli as indicating “it was a friends-and-family affair down at his division, filled with travel, luxury homes, cars and clothes – all at the taxpayers’ expense”.
According to the Investigating Directorate spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka, the other parties in the matter are Mdluli’s former and current wives Theresa (Lyons) and Vusiwane Mdluli, Johan and Heena Appalsami (of Daez Trading CC, acting as letting agent), Heine Barnard’s wife, Juanita Barnard and Solomon Lazarus’ wife Sandra Lazarus.
“The three of them were custodians and in control of the Crime Intelligence secret service account, which consists of funds allocated to Crime Intelligence by National Treasury for the specific purpose of preventing crime and gathering intelligence to combat crime,” Seboka said.
The matter, Seboka explained, pertains to charges of gross abuse of the police crime intelligence slush fund, which ultimately benefited Mdluli and his family. Amongst the gross abused, Seboka outlines, included;
- Payment of private trips to China and Singapore;
- Private use of a witness protection house in Boksburg and conversion of this property for his personal use;
- The leasing out of Mdluli’s private townhouse at Gordon Villas in Gordons Bay as a safe house to the state and using monthly rental to pay his bond
- Paying his financing costs owing on his private BMW through an intricate scheme to the detriment of the SAPS
- Coercing a SAPS supplier into giving Mdluli a special deal on the use and purchase price of a Honda Ballade
- Paying transfer costs to an attorney on the purchase of a house in Brackenfell, Cape Town and having family members, without adequate qualifications or experience, appointed in crime intelligence, getting them on the payroll and paying their salaries, providing them with motor vehicles and cell phones.
Last month Mdluli was freed from jail under parole, less than two years into his five-year sentence. Mdluli and his co-accused, Mthembeni Mthunzi, were sentenced to five years in prison in September 2020 for kidnapping, assault and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, which occurred while Mdluli was commander of the Vosloorus police station in 1998.
Mdluli will complete the remainder of the sentence in the system of community corrections, whereby he is expected to comply with the specific set of conditions and will be subjected to supervision until his sentence expires.
The restraint order is the second hurdle the NPA overcame in its efforts to get the trial started in the criminal matter. The State has also tried unsuccessfully for over a decade to get the matter to go to trial.
Read in Daily Maverick: “The State is fed up with the game of cat and mouse being played by former Crime Intelligence boss Richard Mdluli, saying that his delaying tactics are preventing his trial from getting underway.”
The head of the Asset Forfeiture Unit advocate Ouma Rabaji-Rasethaba welcoming the restraint order said: “The NPA has a two-pronged strategy for prosecuting those responsible for looting state coffers, through criminal prosecution and also taking away the proceeds of crime through asset forfeiture proceedings.
“We will not allow those who benefited from crime to hold onto the ill-gotten gains and they must feel that crime does not pay.”
The criminal matter returns to court on 5 November 2022. DM