Ipid investigator Innocent Khuba allegedly learned through former Hawks boss General Berning Ntlemeza that General Anwa Dramat – the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigating head at the time – would be suspended from his post weeks before it was splashed all over the media, the commission of inquiry into state capture heard on Thursday.
“I had a last meeting with him [Ntlemeza] in December 2014. He had called me and said I should meet him at Wimpy. He said he had something to talk to me about.
“I arrived to find him there, when I sat down he wanted to tell me the good news. He said there is going to be a hit on Dramat and I must watch the news,” Khuba told the commission.
To Khuba’s surprise when he watched the news a few weeks later, he found out that Dramat had indeed been suspended.
“A few weeks passed, and then I saw on TV that Dramat was suspended and he [Ntlemeza] was appointed to act in that position [head of the Hawks].
“It happened exactly like he said. It started to confirm the challenges that I had with statements and the entire issue of the rendition, it troubled me but I could not do anything about it,” he said.
Khuba was the lead investigator on the Zimbabwe rendition case that probed the rendition of five Zimbabweans between November 2010 and January 2011.
An initial investigation alleged that former Gauteng Hawks boss Shadrack Sibiya and Dramat might have been involved in the matter, however, a second Ipid report cleared them of any wrongdoing.
Khuba told the commission that prior to their last meeting, he had met with Ntlemeza a few times and learned former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli allegedly had an interest in the case.
Mdluli allegedly sent Ntlemeza to convey a message to Khuba.
“He said Mdluli is appreciating the work I am doing. He [Mdluli] said that if I see a suspicious vehicle following me, I must activate General Ntlemeza – he was there to assist me. I was troubled by this.
“When Ntlemeza left I was afraid. I knew Mdluli was on suspension and it worried me that he took an interest in the case while he was on the outside,” he explained.
Following this meeting, Khuba approached Ipid’s then-acting executive director, Koekie Mbeki, asking her to remove him from the team investigating the rendition case. He was told this was not possible as “there was no one to replace him”.
Khuba told the commission the meetings with Ntlemeza, leaked statements and alleged interference in the investigation into the Zimbabwe rendition case confirmed to him the investigation might “not have been done in good faith”.
“I had a document from Zim authorities thanking intelligence for the good work. It made no mention of Dramat. If Dramat was the mastermind they should have written directly to him.
“I am not saying the rendition never took place. I am just saying, was the investigation set up in good faith? It seems the ultimate goal was to get rid of General Dramat,” Khuba said.
The inquiry continues.