SUSPENDED ICD boss fights back

the suspended KwaZulu-Natal head of the Independent Complaints Directorate has filed papers in the Pretoria high court challenging the validity of a subpoena used by the directorate to obtain her private cellphone records.

In the court papers, Tabisa Ralo's legal team highlighted that a Pretoria magistrate, who signed the subpoena, had already left the service on the date it was issued.

Attorney Dolf Masoma is asking the court to declare the subpoena invalid.

The respondents are the magistrate, the National Director of Public Prosecutions, Safety and Security Minister Nathi Mthethwa, and ICD executive director Francois Beukman.

The court application suggests that the ICD fraudulently obtained Ralo's private cellphone records to be used as evidence during her disciplinary hearings.

Ralo was suspended while she was on special leave in February 2009. This happened after a senior staff member allegedly sent written complaints to head office accusing Ralo of abusing her powers and questioned her management skills.

She was accused of inflating her travel claims.

Masoma alleges that the ICD "used illegal means" to obtain the cellphone records to prosecute his client. " The way the subpoena was obtained is contrary to the provisions of section 205 of the Criminal Procedure Act and the date appearing on the court stamp cannot be a date the magistrate signed."

Masoma was also looking into whether or not the cellphone company followed correct procedure when releasing the records.

Ralo continued to receive her full salary since her suspension 16 months ago.

ICD spokesperson Moses Dlamini said the directorate had not yet been served with any court papers.