McBride mum on tar­get claims

Po­lice cite land deal probe as trig­ger

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - KASHIEFA AJAM

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.

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