Nhleko accuses McBride of improper conduct

He accuses the watchdog boss of issuing instructions to an investigator to alter the findings of a report.

FILE: Ipid head Robert McBride. Picture: Barry Bateman/EWN.

JOHANENSBURG - Police Minister Nathi Nhleko has made his strongest allegation yet of improper conduct against suspended Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) head Robert McBride in his opposition to the watchdog boss' constitutional challenge of his powers.

The details are contained in the minister's answering affidavit which was filed two days ago; the challenge to the minister's powers is expected in court early next month.

McBride is accused of altering a report which implicated Hawks bosses Anwa Dramat and Shadrack Sibiya in the rendition of five Zimbabwean suspects in 2010.

Nhleko says in court papers that McBride engineered a crude and deliberate attempt to exclude any evidence that implicated Dramat or Sibiya in the 2010 rendition of the suspects.

He accuses the watchdog boss of issuing instructions to an Ipid investigator to alter the findings of an initial report to exonerate the pair.

McBride has maintained, as stated in previous court papers, that the changes in the reports were the result of new evidence coming to light.

Nhleko suggests he is lying, saying that no new evidence came to light, and the inescapable inference is that McBride had an ulterior motive in seeking to clear Dramat and Sibiya.

It's also emerged that even before suspended Ipid allegedly altered a damning report into the rendition of Zimbabwean suspects, National prosecuting Authority prosecutors didn't believe the case Sibiya would stand in court.

Advocate Anthony Mosing says in a letter to prosecution bosses in February last year, that after studying the docket he recommended the prosecution of five police officers including Dramat, but not Sibiya.

He made this finding despite Ipid's recommendation at the time to prosecute both of them.

He says Sibiya is alleged to have been present during two of the operations, but the evidence is not conclusive, adding that cellphone evidence does not corroborate his presence.

Mosing says Sibiya's involvement in the rendition could not be established beyond reasonable doubt, however, he notes that this could be looked at again after an expert witness is procured to study the records.

A more recent internal letter indicates that in March this year, a decision was taken to prosecute both Dramat and Sibiya, but prosecutors have requested further investigations be conducted.