Judge rips into acting Hawks boss over rendition debacle

Judge Elias Matojane criticised Berning Ntlemeza's conduct while dismissing his application.

FILE: Judge Elias Matojane found that Berning Ntlemeza was biased and dishonest, that he lacked integrity and honour; and that he made false statements under oath. Picture:stock.xchng.

JOHANNESBURG - The High Court in Pretoria on Monday questioned the motives of acting Hawks boss, Berning Ntlemeza's conduct against the unit's Gauteng head, Shadrack Sibiya, lending credibility to claims of a vendetta.

Judge Elias Matojane found that Ntlemeza was biased and dishonest, that he lacked integrity and honour; and that he made false statements under oath.

The court dismissed his attempt to appeal an earlier ruling, declaring that Sibiya's suspension was unlawful and invalid, meaning Sibiya could return to work immediately.

Last month, the court declared Sibiya's suspension unlawful and invalid but Ntlemeza appealed that decision.

Matojane raised questions over the existence of two reports, one implicating Sibiya, and another clearing him of involvement in the rendition of five Zimbabwean suspects in 2010.

"It's not clear why he seeks to rely on the one implicating applicant, especially as the first respondent has commissioned a top law firm to investigating the issue arising from the two reports."

Sibiya and suspended head of the unit, Anwa Dramat, were implicated in the illegal rendition of five Zimbabwean suspects in 2010, but the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) cleared him.

The police ministry has dismissed that finding and, using a report that Ipid said was legally invalid, claimed the Hawks boss still had a case to answer to.

The judge criticised Ntlemeza's conduct while dismissing his application.

"Under the circumstances and having regarded the vindictive conduct of the third respondent, I'm unable to find that there's a reasonable prospect of success of appeal on this ground."

HIGH COURT DEFENDS HAWKS BOSSES

Meanwhile, the High Court in Pretoria also warned that as long as questions surrounded the authenticity of two Ipid reports into an illegal rendition, action could not be taken against the implicated Hawks bosses.

In sanctioning Sibiya, Ntlemeza relied on a report that the police watchdog had declared devoid of legal standing.

Furthermore, Ipid boss Robert McBride has been summoned by the police ministry to explain the existence of the two reports.

Sibiya's attorney says it's unclear when his client will return to work.

At the same time, Sibiya is recovering following a car crash a week ago that left him in intensive care.

The Hawks have confirmed they're investigating the incident.