NPA welcomes restraint order to freeze Richard Mdluli’s assets

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has been granted an order to retain over R13-million worth of assets belonging to former police crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli and his allies.

In a statement on Wednesday Sindisiwe Seboka, the NPA investigating directorate’s spokesperson, said: “The High Court of South Africa, Gauteng division in Pretoria, has granted the NPA’s asset forfeiture unit a restraint order of over R13-million against the former South African Police Service [SAPS] crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli, head of supply chain management Heine Barnard, and former SAPS crime intelligence CFO [chief financial officer] Solomon Lazarus and others.”

Mdluli and his allies were keepers of the state’s secret slush fund allocated to the crime intelligence by the National Treasury for the prevention of crime which they abused during their time at the helm between 2008 and 2012.

Seboka said Mdluli’s former and current wives, Theresa (Lyons) and Vusiwane Mdluli, John and Heena Appalsami (of Daez Trading, acting as letting agent), Heine Barnard’s wife Juanita Barnard, and Solomon Lazarus’ wife Sandra Lazarus are also implicated.

The allegations include payments Mdluli made to fund private trips to China and Singapore, the private use of witness protection houses, the leasing out of his private residence to the state to pay for his bond, and the conversion of properties for personal use.

“The restraint is premised on the fraud, theft, and corruption case reinstated by the state on 26 August 2020. The matter pertains to charges of gross abuse of the police crime intelligence slush fund, which ultimately benefited Richard Mdluli and his family,” said Seboka.

“They include payment of private trips to China and Singapore; private use of a witness protection house in Boksburg and conversion of this property for his personal use; the leasing out of Mdluli’s private townhouse at Gordon Villas in Gordons Bay as a safe house to the state and using the monthly rental to pay his bond; paying his financing costs owing on his private BMW through an intricate scheme to the detriment of the SAPS; coercing an SAPS supplier into giving Mdluli a special deal on the use and purchase price of a Honda Ballade; paying transfer costs to an attorney on the purchase of a house in Brackenfell, Cape Town, and having family members without adequate qualifications or experience appointed in crime intelligence, getting them on the payroll, paying their salaries, and providing them with motor vehicles and cellphones.”

The head of the asset forfeiture unit, advocate Ouma Rabaji-Rasethaba, 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,” said Rabaji-Rasethaba.

“We will not allow those who benefited from crime to hold onto the ill-gotten gains, they must feel that crime does not pay.”

The criminal case will return to court on November 5. In July, Mdluli was released on parole after serving a third of his sentence.

Department spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said on Tuesday: “He qualified to be considered for parole placement after serving 1/3 of the sentence as he falls under the Phaahla judgment. His minimum detention period was on 28 May 2022,” said Nxumalo.

According to Nxumalo, Mdluli could not be considered for parole in May due to his corruption case in the crime intelligence slush fund. He was sentenced to five years in prison in September 2020 after being found guilty of kidnapping, assault, and intimidating Oupa Ramogibe, his wife and Mdluli’s former lover Tshidi Buthelezi in 1998.

Also read: Richard Mdluli out on parole

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