McBride mum on target claims
Police cite land deal probe as trigger
WAS ROBERT McBride the target of an abortive assassination attempt the night he wrote off his official car?
The controversial for mer Ekurhuleni metro police chief goes on trial in March on charges of drunken driving, defeating the ends of justice and fraud. He has pleaded not guilty.
The State alleges that he tried to cover up that he was drunk on the night in December 2006 when he crashed his car on the R511 after an office Christmas party.
But McBride has maintained throughout that he has no memory of the accident.
This week, Eyewitness News reported that an “explosive police report” had found that the crash was an assassination attempt, that McBride’s brakes had been tampered with on two previous occasions, and that a yellow Mazda had been on the road at the time of the crash, forcing McBride to swerve, lose control and crash.
McBride, however, has distanced himself from claims that his life had been in danger because of his investigation into a corrupt land development deal in Meyersdal on the East Rand.
Instead, he told Beeld newspaper in a letter to the editor that he had been approached by police intelligence officers who told him they had information about his crash. He denied intending to use the claims as a defence in his drunken driving case.
But Pasco, the company tasked with probing the two major land deals in Meyersdal, claimed that its people had been threatened for prying.
“There were powerful interests who were definitely threatened by both investigations,” said Pasco’s managing director for Africa, Mark Welman.
He said he and his investigators received “credible threats”.
Welman also said McBride had raised the tampered brakes claim almost two years before the crash.
But this week, a for mer colleague of McBride’s claimed that nobody had had to tamper with McBride’s brakes because he “drove like an idiot” and that the car had just come from the workshop to have its worn- out brakes fixed.
“That is how he drives. His brakes often had to be replaced because he rides them.”
Pasco came under fire this week for claims that it was in cahoots with McBride and his legal team, channelling money to him by overcharging for its work. The company has denied these claims.
A councillor, who did not want to be named, claimed that Pasco’s huge invoice to the Ekurhuleni Municipality as well as the findings on the Meyersdal investigation were questionable.
“We had to hire another investigator to corroborate the claims in their report – which we have done. We expect to table it in January,” the councillor said.
Welman admitted that the Meyersdal investigation had been expensive, but said it was necessary. He said all 15 investigations completed for Ekurhuleni Municipality amounted to R13 million.
“We had no connection to (McBride) other than that he was the metro police chief. EMPD was our client.
“We are aware that there were differences of opinion on our Meyersdal investigation, but we are more than happy to share our findings,” Welman said.
The trial is not McBride’s only concern. The council is - considering forcing him to foot his own legal bill from now on – and recovering the R10.8m he has already cost the council in legal fees.
McBride was unavailable for comment yesterday.
NO COMMENT: Former Ekurhuleni metro police chief Robert McBride.