Cele won’t face charges

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Former national police commissioner Bheki Cele. Photo: Dumisani Sibeko

Bheki Cele, fired this week as national police commissioner, is unlikely to face a criminal investigation, the Sunday Tribune has established.

The Moloi Report into Cele’s fitness to hold office, which was used by President Jacob Zuma as the basis to dismiss Cele, recommended that criminal charges be considered. The Moloi Police Board Inquiry found that Cele:

l Grossly misconducted himself regarding the procurement of the Sanlam Middestad and Transnet buildings in Pretoria and Durban.

l Favoured buildings owned by property mogul Roux Shabangu.

l Caused procurement processes of the SAPS supply chain management to be manipulated by Shabangu.

l Failed to appreciate the nature and importance of responsibilities attached to his position.

l Failed to appreciate the importance, meaning and consequences of the provisions of the Public Finance Management Act.

The inquiry could not prove Cele acted corruptly, but that he acted dishonestly. It recommended that the president remove him from office. And, while corrupt activities could not be proven, it recommended that Cele’s and Shabangu’s “questionable” relationship be further investigated.

However, presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said on Friday that he had no idea regarding Cele’s fate and that the Presidency could not interfere in SAPS internal matters.

“You wouldn’t be pleased if we were to interfere with such processes, now would you? There are relevant departments to deal with that matter. The president only carried out the recommendations of the report after applying his mind.”

Cele’s replacement, Mangwashi Riah Phiyega, said while she was aware of the issue, she would not say anything until such time as Zuma had publicly released the Moloi report.

“From where I am, I have not seen the report; I do not know what it says, however, I can tell you that there are internal processes under way to look into such issues.”

Head of legal services Lieutenant-General JT Molefe poured cold water on suggestions that the SAPS would looking into the matter.

“Legal services has no instruction like that. Secondly, I do not think there has been a public release of such a report, thus it makes it unfair to pronounce on it and to even mention the names of the individuals concerned, that is Cele and (Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye) Ngobeni,” he said.

Molefe was called to testify on behalf of Cele’s legal teams during the sitting of the board of inquiry. But his evidence does not appear in the final Moloi report.

A SAPS headquarters source was doubtful of a successful prosecution against Cele. The source said there were legal doubts and it would be difficult to prove that Cele benefited from the lease agreements. “He’s out of the SAPS as well. The board of inquiry could not subpoena more witness to make a case against him. It’s going to be fruitless,” said the source.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa’s spokesman, Zweli Mnisi, said he would not comment on the report since “he was not mandated to see it, but it was for the Presidency”.

Sunday Tribune


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