News / South Africa / State Capture

Makhosandile Zulu
4 minute read
17 Sep 2019
2:09 pm

Hawks investigator tells Zondo of documents incorrectly classified to cover up illegal activity

Makhosandile Zulu

The investigator says that he has unsuccessfully tried to declassify these documents since 2012.

A senior police officer, Kobus Roelofse, says he is still dealing with the ramifications of Lawrence Mrwebi's interference in the case against intelligence boss Richard Mdluli. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

A senior police officer with the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (also known as the Hawks), Kobus Roelofse, on Tuesday told the commission of inquiry into state capture of the frustrations he experienced in his attempts to obtain documents that were incorrectly classified to cover up illegal activity and to protect certain senior police officials.

Roelofse was on Tuesday giving evidence relating to legal activities of senior and highly placed officers in crime intelligence, a murder investigation involving former intelligence boss Richard Mdluli, and the alleged looting of the Secret Services Account (SSA).

Roelofse told the chairperson of the commission, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, that it was his assertion that certain documents were incorrectly classified to halt his investigations and to allow for the nonprosecution of police members involved in the illegal transactions at the SSA, which he was probing.

He said that those involved in the illegalities had classified these documents.

Roelofse said that since 2012, he had to no avail requested that these documents should be declassified.

Roelofse said that in March 21, 2011, he attended a meeting with acting head of the Hawks Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata, who was the major general at the time and head of the Hawks in the Western Cape, along with major general Shadrack Sibiya; Mzwandile Petros, the provincial commissioner in Gauteng at the time; and Colonel Peter Janse Viljoen.

At the meeting, Sibiya requested that the Hawks in the Western Cape take over an investigation by their counterparts in Gauteng because one of the investigators had been intimidated and because an objective probe was required.

The said investigation was a murder investigation in Vosloorus involving Mdluli who faced charges of murder, attempted murder, intimidation, kidnapping, assault, and defeating the ends of justice.

Roelofse said that during his investigations into the case, he and Viljoen were approached by members of the police with information pertaining to alleged acts of criminality within crime intelligence involving the SSA. He said these members had asked to meet in clandestine locations because they were scared and had previously been asked to ditch their respective probes or questioning into such matters.

The information included allegations that Mdluli misused funds from the SSA by purchasing luxury vehicles, including an ML Mercedes Benz and a 3 series BMW, which were found at his home during a search and seizure in 2011, Roelofse said. The BMW was used by Mdluli.

The purchase of the two vehicles was approved by former police major general Solomon Lazarus and arranged by Colonel Henie Bernard.

Roelofse told the commission that it later transpired, when he received some of the documents which have not been declassified, that the reasons given for the purchase of the vehicles had been false.

The commission also heard that the money that was supposed to accrue to crime intelligence in the form of discounts for the purchasing of the two vehicles, estimated at R80,000 or R90,000, was used to settle Mdluli’s outstanding debt on a private vehicle.

Roelofse said Bernard was later arrested.

Roelofse placed before the commission an affidavit by Colonel Jakobus Roos, in which the latter outlines his frustrations dating back to 2004, with getting senior police management to cooperate and assist with his investigations.

Soon after Mdluli’s appointment in July 2009, he requested Roos and others to conduct investigations into the SSA, specifically focusing on Lazarus as CFO of the account.

However, Roos had difficulties in obtaining documents he needed for the investigation because of Lazarus.

On December 3, 2009, Mdluli halted the investigation without giving any reasons, “which is part and parcel of what I experienced”, Roelofse said.

The commission also heard that in November that year, Lazarus had arranged two trips abroad for Mdluli, one to Singapore with his current wife and another to China with his ex-wife.

Roelofse told the commission that during the course of the investigation, it became evident to him that when Mdluli was appointed, he came to crime intelligence with the intention to “clean up”  the institution but unfortunately he ended up being Lazarus’ victim, who set up events to compromise Mdluli, and so Mdluli had no option but to stop the investigations Roos was conducting.

“This is not an isolated incident … where people are drawn into a situation and later cannot walk away from it,” Roelofse said.

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