News / South Africa / State Capture

Makhosandile Zulu
3 minute read
1 Oct 2019
4:51 pm

Zondo told of luxury vehicles bought for Richard Mdluli using slush fund

Makhosandile Zulu

The witness says the secret service account was used to buy two Mercedes-Benzes for Mdluli, among other luxury vehicles.

Former intelligence boss Richard Mdluli, right, and his co-accused Mthembeni Mthunzi, left, were convicted in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg for the 1999 kidnapping of Oupa Ramogibe, 30 July 2019. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Two Mercedes Benzes and a five-series BMW are among some of the luxury vehicles allegedly purchased for former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli using the secret service account (SSA).

The commission of inquiry into state capture heard on Tuesday from whistleblower Colonel Dhanajaya Naidoo that Mdluli made use of a number of luxury vehicles.

Naidoo told the chairperson of the commission, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, that the SSA was also allegedly used to purchase a Mercedes-Benz ML350 for former police minister Nathi Mthethwa around 2009 or 2010. Naidoo said Mthethwa’s car was purchased at R373,850 and that the former minister a few months later no longer wanted to use the vehicle because he was allegedly being followed by journalists.

Naidoo said Mdluli did not make use of these cars “at one particular time, it was over a period of time,” from July 2009 until Naidoo went into the witness protection programme in 2011.

Naidoo said Mdluli’s official vehicle was an Audi Q7 which was purchased from the police’s open account, which he would have received when he was appointed.

A Mercedes Benz E350 CDI was allegedly purchased for Mdluli using the SSA, the commission heard. The car cost R636,950, Naidoo said.

Mdluli, however, later instructed former police major general Solomon Lazarus, who headed the SSA, to trade in this vehicle and have extras installed, Naidoo said. A second Mercedes Benz E350 CDI with the extras Mdluli had requested was purchased at R826,780.01, Naidoo added.

A BMW 530d was also allegedly purchased for Mdluli, the commission heard.

ALSO READ: Crime intelligence slush fund furnished Mdluli’s apartment, Zondo hears

Naidoo said Mdluli also made use of a black jeep which had not initially been purchased specifically for him, but had been previously used by former crime intelligence head Mulangi Mphego.

“For a short period he made use of this vehicle,” Naidoo said, adding that when Mdluli felt unhappy with the jeep it was taken to another province.

Mdluli also made use of a Lexus which was purchased using the SSA but had not initially been bought for him.

Naidoo told the commission that Lazarus had instructed him to oversee Mdluli’s petrol claims.

The commission also heard that the former head of South African Police Services (SAPS) human resources, Manoko Nchwe, was bought a “brand new” Audi Q5 through the SSA.

Naidoo said he had facilitated that the vehicle be registered in Nchwe’s name, and initially it had been recorded in his name in the crime intelligence asset register.

Naidoo said because he was a lieutenant colonel at the time, the head of procurement at crime intelligence, Colonel Hein Barnard suggested that the Q5 should be recorded as an A4 “because at that stage it was quite an extravagant vehicle for me to drive myself”. The misrepresentation was done as a way of misleading auditors, the commission heard.

The commission also heard that Lazarus made use of a number of vehicles, including a Mercedes-Benz Viano, which were purchased using the SSA and that those close to Lazarus, including Naidoo, made use of these vehicles.

The commission adjourned on Tuesday and would resume on Wednesday.

ALSO READ: Zondo hears of Mdluli family nepotism within crime intelligence

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