NPA granted restraining order against former SAPS Crime Intelligence head Richard Mdluli, others

The Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, has granted the National Prosecuting Authority’s Asset Forfeiture Unit a restraining order against the assets of former SAPS Crime Intelligence head Richard Mdluli and others amounting to more than R13 million.

The order was also obtained against Mdluli’s co-accused, head of supply chain management Heine Barnard, and former police Crime Intelligence CFO, Solomon Lazarus, as well as against some of Mdluli’s family members.

Mdluli and his co-accused were custodians of and in control of the Crime Intelligence’s secret service account, which consists of money allocated by National Treasury for the specific purpose of preventing crime and gathering intelligence to combat crime.

The restraint order was served on the parties on Tuesday, Sindisiwe Seboka, Investigating Directorate spokesperson said.

The other parties against whom the restraint order was obtained include Mdluli’s former and current wives, Theresa Lyons and Vusiwane Mdluli, Barnard’s wife, Juanita Barnard and Lazarus’s wife, Sandra Lazarus.

Seboka said the restraint was premised on the fraud, theft and corruption case reinstated by the state in August 2020 against the three accused.

The matter pertains to charges of gross abuse of the police crime intelligence slush fund, which it is said ultimately benefited Mdluli and his family.

These include payment for private trips to China and Singapore; private use of a witness protection house in Boksburg and conversion of Mdluli’s property for his personal use. It is also claimed that he had leased out his private townhouse at Gordon Villas in Gordons Bay as a safe house to the state and used the monthly rental to pay his bond.

He will also face charges that he paid his financing costs owing on his private BMW through an intricate scheme to the detriment of the police and that he had convinced a SAPS supplier into giving him a special deal on the use and purchase price of a Honda Ballade.

Further allegations against Mdluli are that he had appointed family members, without adequate qualifications or experience, in crime intelligence and that he had provided them with vehicles and cellphones. The offences are alleged to have been committed between 2008 and 2012.

Head of the Asset Forfeiture Unit, advocate Ouma Rabaji-Rasethaba, meanwhile welcomed the restraint.

“The NPA has a two-pronged strategy for prosecuting those responsible for looting state coffers, through criminal prosecution and also by taking away the proceeds of crime through asset forfeiture proceedings. We will not allow those who benefited from crime to hold on to the ill-gotten gains and they must feel that crime does not pay,” she said.

The criminal trial of Mdluli and his two co-accused has been 11 years in the making – and there is still no clarity on when it will start. Mdluli and his co-accused again appeared in court in June, but Mdluli now wants to review the decision of the SAPS not to pay for his defence.

The prosecution asked the court to put its foot down and order that the trial start, even if Mdluli is still fighting for the SAPS to fund his legal fees.

“Why must the state pay for his legal fees if he is charged with dishonesty?” prosecutor Arno Rossouw earlier asked. The criminal trial is back in court on September 5 to pave the way forward. Mdluli, who was serving a five-year jail sentence for the kidnapping and assault of his former lover Tshidi Buthelezi and her husband Oupa Ramogibe, is released on parole.

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