Mcbride fingered for dirty tricks

Ipid in­ves­ti­ga­tor says he and oth­ers were in­structed to tar­nish names of top cops


ATOP In­de­pen­dent Po­lice In­ves­tiga­tive Di­rec­torate (Ipid) in­ves­ti­ga­tor claims he was sus­pended af­ter he ex­posed how his boss, Robert Mcbride, had de­manded that he and other in­ves­ti­ga­tors act un­eth­i­cally.

Ipid se­nior in­ves­ti­ga­tor Cedric Nk­abinde was sus­pended on Mon­day af­ter he had writ­ten a let­ter to Po­lice Min­is­ter Bheki Cele in April de­tail­ing the rot at the di­rec­torate.

How­ever, Ipid’s spokesper­son, Moses Dlamini, said Nk­abinde was dis­grun­tled and did not sup­port his al­le­ga­tions with ev­i­dence.

Nk­abinde laid the blame squarely on Mcbride, who was ap­pointed Ipid head in 2014.

He al­leged that Mcbride in­structed him and other Ipid in­ves­ti­ga­tors to “tar­get and push out” for­mer act­ing po­lice com­mis­sion­ers Kho­motso Phahlane, Le­setja Moth­iba and the cur­rent com­mis­sioner, Gen­eral Khehla Si­tole.

He al­leged that Mcbride wanted the com­mis­sioner’s po­si­tion for him­self, there­fore he waged a dirty tricks cam­paign to scup­per those in the run­ning for the post.

On Mcbride’s in­struc­tion, they al­legedly leaked in­for­ma­tion to the me­dia and mon­i­tored and bugged cell­phones of peo­ple they in­ves­ti­gated, he al­leged.

Nk­abinde was an SAPS mem­ber for eight years be­fore work­ing as a se­nior Ipid in­ves­ti­ga­tor in 2012.

He saids an 11-mem­ber team called the Phahlane Task Team was set up specif­i­cally to in­ves­ti­gate the for­mer act­ing na­tional com­mis­sioner.

Phahlane pre­vi­ously faced charges of fraud, money laun­der­ing and cor­rup­tion re­lated to al­le­ga­tions that busi­ness­man Du­rand Sny­man had given him and his wife, Beauty, ve­hi­cles that were paid for by a po­lice con­trac­tor who re­ceived bil­lions in foren­sic con­tracts in ex­change.

The charges were dropped on Thurs­day in the Spe­cialised Com­mer­cial Crime Court in Pre­to­ria.

While Nk­abinde’s let­ter said there was noth­ing amiss with in­ves­ti­gat­ing peo­ple, it was un­to­ward when they were given in­struc­tions to tar­nish the images of in­di­vid­u­als like Phahlane, Moth­iba and Si­tole.

He said this was con­trary to Ipid’s mis­sion of con­duct­ing in­de­pen­dent, im­par­tial and qual­ity in­ves­ti­ga­tions of iden­ti­fied crim­i­nal of­fences al­legedly com­mit­ted by SAPS and metro po­lice mem­bers.

When they made rec­om­men­da­tions, these had to be in line with the Ipid Act, which de­manded the high­est stan­dard of in­tegrity and ex­cel­lence.

In the let­ter Nk­abinde wrote to Cele he claimed that his sus­pen­sion was a way of si­lenc­ing him, which he said was con­trary to the Pro­tected Dis­clo­sures Act, which was en­acted to pro­tect whistle­blow­ers.

He said the rea­son he had blown the whis­tle was be­cause the di­rec­torate was col­laps­ing un­der Mcbride’s watch.

“The un­eth­i­cal con­duct of Ipid’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, Mr Robert Mcbride, has the con­se­quence of bring­ing the di­rec­torate into dis­re­pute,” Nk­abinde wrote.

“These in­ves­ti­ga­tions can­not be seen to be ob­jec­tive or in­de­pen­dent be­cause the in­struc­tion given by the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, Mcbride, was to da­m­age the im­age of Phahlane in or­der for him not to be con­firmed as a per­ma­nent na­tional com­mis­sioner.”

Nk­abinde also sug­gested an en­quiry into Mcbride’s un­eth­i­cal con­duct be in­sti­tuted and crim­i­nal charges be con­sid­ered be­fore he fur­ther en­trenched Ipid into “un­sal­vage­able dis­re­pute”.

In Nk­abinde’s let­ter of sus­pen­sion, which the Sun­day Tri­bune has seen, the grounds for his sus­pen­sion were:

*Leak­age of in­for­ma­tion to ex­ter­nal peo­ple and or me­dia.

*Com­pro­mis­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions con­ducted by Ipid.

*Bring­ing the name of the Ipid, its ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor (Mcbride) and other se­nior man­agers into dis­re­pute.

*Prej­u­dic­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion, dis­ci­pline or ef­fi­ciency of a de­part­ment of­fice or in­sti­tu­tions of the state.

Cele de­clined to com­ment, say­ing it was an in­ter­nal mat­ter that his min­istry was deal­ing with.

An Ipid source who asked not to be named said ur­gent in­ter­ven­tion was needed be­fore the di­rec­torate col­lapsed.

“Things are get­ting worse by the day. It seems like we have con­ve­niently cho­sen to throw out of the win­dow our man­date and start serv­ing other in­ter­ests,” said the source.

Dlamini said Nk­abinde had been re­moved from the spe­cial task team and de­ployed to Kwazulu-natal.

“Mcbride in­vited him to pro­vide ev­i­dence to sup­port his al­le­ga­tions. He never did. He was re­moved from the task team af­ter al­le­ga­tions emerged that he had been of­fered a post by crime in­tel­li­gence in re­turn for im­pli­cat­ing Mcbride in wrong­do­ing,” said Dlamini.

Le­setja Moth­iba

Kho­motso Phahlane

Robert Mcbride

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