Watch the Sitholes every Thursday at 17h30 on e.tv
Cape Town -
Burglaries, intimidation and threats targeting a police colonel who was investigating corruption in the Crime Intelligence Unit were “consonant” with steps taken by police management to shut down his probe.
This is contained in a judgment which focuses on Johan Roos, a colonel who was an internal auditor in Crime Intelligence, responsible for auditing the Secret Service account, and who blew the lid on the suspected corruption.
A report, cited in the judgment handed down by Judge Robert Lagrange in the Johannesburg Labour Court earlier this week, found there was “rampant corruption taking place on a breathtaking scale” in the Crime Intelligence Unit.
According to the judgment, between 2005 and 2010, Roos’s home was burgled and notes relating to his investigations stolen, his office was broken into and he received a note, consisting of letters cut and pasted from other documents, in his post box saying: “U keep digging now its over nice house”.
The judgment said: “If he had been supported in his activities by his superiors, it might be easier to brush off these incidents as unrelated, but it is an undeniable cause for concern that these criminal actions were consonant with the official steps taken to shut down his investigations... to minimise the risk of him discovering more.”
According to court papers, Roos discovered fraud relating to the Secret Service account and after initially being authorised to investigate it, was instead transferred.
The judgment found that Roos should be redeployed, preferably to the Internal Audit section of Crime Intelligence or in a similar section in the police.
And the police were ordered to pay R156 250 compensation to him within two weeks.
Trade union Solidarity represented Roos, who took on the police service, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and national police commissioner General Riah Phiyega.
On Thursrday, Solidarity spokesman Johan Kruger said it was in the process of writing to the police about Roos’s redeployment and planned to approach the public protector about the investigations with which Roos had been busy.
National police spokesman Solomon Makgale said: “We have reviewed the judgment and we will pronounce ourselves on it at a later stage.”
The judgment said Roos’s disclosures “concerned serious corruption and fraudulent activity implicating very senior officers in the Crime Intelligence division”.
But instead of being rewarded with praise, the judgment said, Roos was gradually deprived of authority.
Roos’s evidence showed that in 2004 he had “discovered discrepancies” relating to payments to a cleaning service used by Crime Intelligence in undercover operations.
“He was later advised there was prima facie evidence of fraud in the operation of the account.”
Roos’s evidence was that then-Crime Intelligence head Mulangi Mphego had ordered him to stop the investigations.
“Roos believed that Mphego was angry because the investigation implicated people he (Mphego) was friendly with,” the judgment said.
In 2005, Roos was told a senior superintendent would head the Internal Audit section.
According to Roos’s evidence, in 2009 a colonel in the Directorate of Special Investigations approached him, saying they were investigating fraud and corruption in the Secret Service account and wanted information from him.
Richard Mdluli, who was later suspended relating to his alleged involvement in kidnapping and murder, was appointed divisional commissioner of Crime Intelligence that same year.
Roos’s evidence was that while Mdluli initially tasked him with heading the investigation, the latter later changed his tune and said the investigation needed to end.
Roos had meanwhile been offered a position to head a new unit in Crime Intelligence, but the judgment described it as a “stillborn unit” as it never took off the ground.
The judgment said that in 2012 Roos had received a progress report from a Hawks officer relating to a complaint he had made about being prejudiced as a whistle-blower.
“The report concluded that the preliminary findings regarding (Roos’s) allegations had been ‘90 percent substantiated’, as were the allegations made by another senior officer about rampant corruption taking place on a breathtaking scale.”
The judgment said the year before, Roos had received a copy of a secret report, the result of a Hawks probe into the division, which detailed alleged crimes in the Secret Service account.
“The ambit of the report was wider than the investigations conducted by Roos, including as it did, an investigation into vehicle fraud, nepotism, unauthorised travel arrangements, all of which implicated Mdluli...
“The report also contained extensive findings on a wide range of unlawful activities including intimidation of an officer who had provided information to the Hawks, the fraudulent designation of persons as undercover agents, improper salary advances, abuse of air travel services and the requisitioning of covert vehicles.”
The judgment said “the inertia” of the police in dealing with the situation was “disturbing”.
“Despite Roos protesting vocally about his treatment… no steps were taken by the (police) to remedy the situation,” it said.