Former Police Minister Nathi Nhleko has denied that he interfered with the work of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) in the matter of the rendition of Zimbabwean citizens in 2010.
Nhleko continued his testimony at the State Capture Commission for a second day on Tuesday. He sought to clarify the question of the reporting lines of the Police Minister in relation to the IPID Executive Director and why he based his decision relating to the suspension of senior Hawks members Anwa Dramat and Shadrack Sibiya on an earlier rather than a later report on the matter.
In his testimony on Monday, Nhleko had detailed how he had set up a reference group to probe the illegal repatriation of five Zimbabwean nationals in 2010 by senior hawks officials and how it was investigated by the IPID. This follows former IPID head Robert McBride telling the commission last year that Nhleko’s actions were tantamount to interference with the directorate’s work, a claim Nhleko denies.
“The reporting lines are direct, the Executive Director reports to the Police Minister but also the provisions in the IPID Act, I think it is Section 7 subsection 12 which entitles the minister to ask for any information pertaining to the Executive Director and so on.”
Below is Nhleko’s Monday testimony:
Nhleko answered to claims by McBride that he based his decision to suspend Dramat and Sibiya on a wrong report produced by IPID.
Nhleko in 2014 chose to go with an earlier report signed on 22 January rather than the one signed on 18 March officially handed to him by McBride, which cleared the officials.
Nhleko, however, told Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo that he cannot remember who gave him the earlier report which he took on board.
“If you instruct people in the office they will go whatever ways to find out if that is the kind of thing that can be obtainable within the ministry, that’s how it came about.”
“In other words, are you saying you can’t remember who exactly gave you that report,” asked Justice Zondo.
“Yes, I cannot,” answered Nhleko.
In the video below, the Former Minister continues his testimony:
He further explained that he was concerned that there had been alterations to the second report signed by McBride. He says he was unwilling to disregard the first report for various reasons.
“The first point of reference is to also state that we are nullifying the first one that is the first point, but in this particular instance the legislative and institutional arrangement between IPID and the NPA says if IPID is conducting a criminal investigation the NPA would assist them with prosecutors or a prosecutor if you are then producing another report you must still pull in those particular prosecutors and say there is something wrong with this report.”
Alterations on the second report
Nhleko then commissioned a report on the rendition matter and the two reports from law firm Werksmans Attorney. He says the law firm confirmed there were indeed alterations.
“There are no cosmetic grammatical changes that we are dealing with materially, so surely the complete deletion of a paragraph and or statement for example on a report that you would have to decide let’s say as a prosecuting authority, for example, it would certainly influence the kind of decision that you would have to take.”
Nhleko’s testimony continues on Wednesday.