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Mdluli charge sheet won't be made public for now

This move is intened to protect the identities of undercover agents named in the charge sheet.

FILE: Former crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli. Picture: Barry Bateman/EWN.

PRETORIA - The Commercial Crimes Court in Pretoria has ordered that the charge sheet against former crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli may not be made public until his trial starts.

This is to protect the identities of undercover agents mentioned in it.

Mdluli and co-accused Hein Barnard appeared in court on Wednesday morning together with the unit's former chief financial officer Solly Lazarus who was added to the case today.

The trio are accused of defrauding an apparent secret slush fund.

Magistrate Martin van Wyk has embargoed the release of the charge sheet against the former crime boss until the trial starts in August, when he says the document will be part of the public record and there is nothing the court can do about it.

Mdluli's attorney Ike Motloung made the application but did not provide a reason.

Prosecutor Arno Roussouw did, however, shed some light on the issue, telling the court that the state had tried to secure the identities of the undercover agents mentioned in the charge sheet.

It's understood the document consists of more than 60 pages containing dozens of counts that the three accused face.

PHIYEGA ASKED TO STEP IN

It's emerged National Prosecuting Authority Mxolisi Nxasana has asked National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega to assist in the case against Mdluli.

Prosecutor Arno Roussouw told the court that the state has been trying since August 2013 to get crime intelligence to declassify evidence being used in the case against Mdluli.

Rossouw says a fresh process was started in February this year to declassify the files, but with no luck.

He says as a last resort, Nxasana has asked Phiyega to attend to the matter.

Until the documents are declassified, the state may not take copies of them to give to the defence teams so they can adequately prepare for the trial, which starts in August.

It's unclear why the state is experiencing difficulty with unit in this regard, but suggestions are that it's an attempt to frustrate Mdluli's prosecution.

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