S.Africa crime intelligence boss suspended after arrest

8th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

South Africa's crime intelligence chief has been suspended after being arrested in March on murder charges, a police spokesman said Sunday.

Richard Mdluli, who is accused of the 1999 murder of a fellow officer, has been suspended with pay pending the outcome of his court case and an internal disciplinary process, said McIntosh Polela, spokesman for the police's directorate for priority crime investigations.

"Anyone who's facing a criminal offence, that constitutes a violation of (police) regulations. Mdluli was told as per these regulations that it was not desirable for him to come to the office," Polela told AFP.

Mdluli is charged with three co-accused -- two senior police officers and a court orderly -- in the killing of Oupa Ramogibe, who was reportedly the crime intelligence chief's rival in a love triangle.

Mdluli was released on 20,000 rand ($3,000, 2,100 euros) bail last month.

His arrest on the 12-year-old charge has touched off a flurry of speculation about possible ulterior motives for his detention.

Media reports suggested he may have been targeted because he had links to organised crime, or because he was investigating a corruption case against Police Commissioner Bheki Cele.

Cele, who has been dogged by accusations of graft, was personally responsible for the decision to suspend Mdluli, Polela said.

At his bail hearing, Mdluli introduced what he said was a document from a covert intelligence investigation into Cele that said the police commissioner was part of a plot within the ruling African National Congress to oust President Jacob Zuma in favour of Housing Minister Tokyo Sexwale.

Sexwale last week denied being part of a plot to unseat Zuma and demanded an investigation into the report, which he called a "sordid matter".

© 2011 AFP

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