Cele comes out guns blazingComment on this story
Axed national police commissioner Bheki Cele said on Wednesday he must not be compared to his disgraced predecessor Jackie Selebi or suspended crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.
Defending himself after being fired by President Jacob Zuma, Cele said he had not been charged with any crime.
Also, no evidence of corruption against him had been uncovered by the public protector or the board of inquiry that got him fired.
Cele said he was the one who had Mdluli arrested and suspended when serious allegations against him surfaced. He had also instituted a Special Investigating Unit (SIU) probe into the SAPS supply chain management division, Cele said.
Selebi is serving a 15-year jail term for corruption, while Mdluli is suspended with allegations levelled against him relating to the alleged looting of the crime intelligence secret slush fund.
Cele was on Tuesday axed by President Jacob Zuma after the board that investigated his fitness to hold office, chaired by retired Judge Jake Moloi, found he was unfit to lead the SAPS and that he should be relieved from his duties.
This followed damning findings by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela against Cele, which said his improper and unlawful conduct amounted to maladministration for his involvement in the lease deals totalling R1.6 billion for police offices in Pretoria and Durban.
“Have you honestly forgotten that it was I who had Mdluli arrested, suspended him and authorised an unprecedented probe into the abuse of the crime intelligence slush fund?
“Has it totally escaped you that the same Hamilton Hlela who was the chief witness against me – but has since admitted I was not even aware of his request for the DPW (Department of Public Works) to deviate from normal tender procedures (on) these two leases – it was the same Hlela I asked the SIU to investigate for widespread corruption within the SAPS SCM (supply chain management) division he headed at the time?” asked Cele.
He had asked the SIU to investigate this division because he “smelt a rat”, but to date no findings had been reported to him, Cele said.
He also lambasted Judge Moloi, saying he was not impartial when he arrived at his conclusion and that he was serving the agendas of certain people.
Cele even accused the judge of being at a meeting attended by prosecutors where a decision was made to ask Zuma to widen the scope of the board of inquiry.
This meeting was also attended by “people from ministers’ offices”, and a certain minister was chosen as the one who would approach Zuma, Cele said.
Judge Moloi said in a statement on Wednesday that the board would not “involve itself in a public spat with anybody, including the former police commissioner”.
“The board was properly constituted and it did its work transparently without fear or favour, and the process was open to the public.”
The judge said he would wait for action that may follow as a result of the board’s work and would not be making any further comments to the press.
Cele said he would also be filing a complaint against Judge Moloi with the Judicial Service Commission as he had been hostile to him, making him feel “humiliated” and “abused”.
“The application that I will be filing in the Pretoria High Court before the end of this week will lay bare the monumental errors of fact, logic and law that litter this report.
“The only conclusion I could draw after reading the report is that someone must have prevailed upon Judge Moloi to make sure that he returns a recommendation that I be fired, at whatever cost,” said Cele.
The former top cop said he would go quietly, but not until he had challenged Judge Moloi’s report, which, if found to be unlawful by the high court, would render Zuma’s decision to fire him also unlawful.
“I am going to court because I want the president to clarify which specific findings of the Moloi report he upheld and relied on to arrive at his decision.
“I am going to court because I want the court to declare the entire Moloi report factually, rationally and legally unsound,” he added.
“Unfortunately, the automatic consequence of the court’s acceptance of my contention that Moloi’s report is fatally flawed will be to render the president’s decision to fire me invalid and unlawful.”
The Moloi report had rendered supply chain management in the SAPS a more important function of the police commissioner than his performance in the crime-fighting area, an area in which Zuma had conceded that he exceeded expectations, Cele charged.
“Exactly how this profound admission tallies with a conclusion that I am unfit and incapable of performing the duties of national police commissioner is simply hard to fathom,” said Cele.