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Evidence incriminating Mdluli were removed from docket - Booysen

Former Hawks head Johan Booysen says alleged that former top cop Riah Phiyega ordered the Crime Intelligence dockets be removed from his colleague.

Former KZN Hawks head Johan Booysen gives testimony at the state capture inquiry on 18 April 2019.

CAPE TOWN - Former Hawks head Johan Booysen has described how incriminating evidence against former head of Crime Intelligence Richard Mdluli was removed from a docket.

The major general has been testifying at the state capture commission of inquiry on Thursday where he has revealed police and political interference in high-profile cases.

Booysen said he was helping a colleague who was handling the KwaZulu-Natal leg of the case against Mdluli.

“I asked him if he would mind if I took notes from the dockets. He said ‘no that’s fine’. I wrote down the name of each witness in that statement that was filed in the docket.”

He alleged that former national police commissioner Riah Phiyega ordered the Crime Intelligence dockets be removed from his colleague. They were later recovered by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.

“So, I went through the statement and compared it with my list. Every single witness who implicated Richard Mdluli and a number of other officers; all those statements were removed from the docket,” Booysen added.

'SUNDAY TIMES STORY'

Booysen also testified earlier that despite providing information to Sunday Times reporters that contradicted their information, they still went ahead with a series of stories that kicked-off the so-called Cato Manor death squad narrative in December 2011.

Booysen testified about how the story was used as the pretext to have him and more than a dozen detectives arrested and later prosecuted on charges of racketeering.

He said he was interviewed by the Sunday Times journalists who presented him with apparent evidence of a death squad that he allegedly operated.

“And I made it clear to Mr (Stephan) Hoffstatter that the photographs that they had, which I’d seen, some of them weren’t even scenes that Cato Manor was involved in.”

Hoffstatter and colleagues Mzilikazi wa Africa and Rob Rose wrote the story at the time.

Booysen said he provided the reporters with all the relevant information that they could themselves confirm and that would have refuted their story.

“Chair, it was clear to me that the nature of the conversation was that they’d already written their story and they are not going to change it,” he told inquiry chairperson Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

He said the story appeared under the headline “Shoot to kill” the following week.

The Sunday Times later apologised and retracted the story, but Booysen and Cato Manor detectives are continuing their legal fight to have the racketeering charges withdrawn.

On Thursday, the major general also described how the provincial commissioner unlawfully instructed him to stop the investigation of businessman Thoshen Panday and later, after Panday and an accomplice were arrested, the case was withdrawn.

He believed he was forced out of the police for initiating and forging ahead with the case against the politically connected Panday.

Booysen returns to conclude his testimony on 2 May.

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