Anger over raid on top Hawks cop

Police, Prisons and Civil Rights Union (Popcru) is outraged after the office of Eastern Cape Hawks officer Captain Luphumlo Lwana was raided and case dockets confiscated.

The case dockets, which include high-profile court cases implicating powerful figures and politicians, were taken by the national head of the Hawks’ commercial crime unit, Major-General Alfred Khana, on Friday.

The union claims that Khana’s move was politically motivated.

Lwana, a detective in the commercial crimes unit of the Hawks, has been lauded for investigating high-profile cases and arresting powerful figures.

He is well known for going after politicians.

In a statement to the Dispatch yesterday the Hawks confirmed that Khana had taken Lwana’s case dockets.

However Hawks national spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi denied the move was politically motivated.

He said the move was made because Lwana was having disciplinary issues and acting unprofessionally in his line of work.

“It has got nothing to do with General Khana, it has to do with service delivery,” Mulaudzi said.

“We have received a lot of representations from different cases having stalled, complainants being victimised, the list goes on.”

Mulaudzi further said: “There’s a serious outcry in the Eastern Cape so we have a responsibility to intervene, there’s nothing wrong with taking accountability. No one has been expelled, it’s a lie.”

“This is not about politicians or big shots but service delivery. He has a post in the DPCI and will continue to fulfil his responsibilities.”

One of the cases against Lwana includes that of a former official of the court, Rhona Scheun, who accused Lwana of threatening to arrest her for doing her job.

The allegations emerged during a civil trial of Senqu municipality planning director Palesa Bushula, who is suing the police ministry and Lwana for more than R800000 in damages for unlawful arrest, detention, assault and theft of her cellphone.

It was reported that video footage seen by the court showed Lwana grabbing Bushula’s cellphone while she was recording an arrest of the local authority’s municipal manager by Lwana.

It was reported at the time that as he left the office, Lwana appeared to lunge at Bushula and snatch the cellphone.

A scuffle ensued in which Bushula attempted, but failed, to get her cellphone back, the Dispatch reported at the time.

In another case he was convicted of assault but the matter was set aside after he appealed.

Popcru provincial secretary Zamikhaya Skade launched a scathing attack on the Hawks management, alleging that some high-profile cases involving politicians may be thrown out of court if the dockets were not brought back.

“This is the exact fight we were fighting in the Scorpions before they were disbanded by politicians. This is high political interference.”

Skade, who met with Lwana yesterday, said he would write a report and send it to the national general secretary of Popcru for intervention.

Yesterday Lwana said he would not like to comment on Friday’s dramatic events, but he opted to respond to the allegations of ill-discipline levelled against him by his employer.

“As far as I know there is no complaint that has come forward regarding my discipline or work conduct. My employers have never called me to any disciplinary hearing and have never raised anything like that.”

During his investigating career Lwana arrested powerful figures including a string of politicians.

In 2014 following a two-month investigation, Lwana arrested former Buffalo City mayor Zukiswa Ncitha, former deputy mayor Themba Tinta, former council speaker Luleka Simon-Ndzele, former ANC regional secretary Pumlani Mkolo and senior councillor Sindiswa Gomba.

The powerful ANC heavyweights were arrested for money laundering and fraud related to payments made from R5.9-million meant for Nelson Mandela memorial services.

Last year Lwana arrested former Mnquma municipal manager Sindile Tantsi (since deceased), businessman Sive Nombembe and ANC Amathole regional secretary Teris Ntuthu.

Nombembe and Mnquma local municipality manager Sindile Tantsi were arrested by the Hawks in connection with fraud and corruption charges.

The charges relate to a refuse bag tender worth R10-million awarded to Nombembe’s Big Boy Events company.

The Dispatch reported at the time that immediately after payments were made to the company, outgoing payments were made to individuals including Ntuthu under code names.

Ntuthu, however, was never in the employ of Mnquma municipality. — malibongwed@dispatch.co.za

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