Cops in the line of fire

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top cop june 15

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Newly appointed national police commissioner General Riah Mangwashi Phiyega. Photo: Sizwe Ndingane

A massive clean-up of top police officers in KwaZulu-Natal is under way and is expected to lead to the arrest of senior officers in the province.

In a week in which a new national police commissioner, Riah Phiyega, took office and promised to root out corruption, the Sunday Tribune has established that:

l Provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Mmomonnye Ngobeni is to face a disciplinary hearing for her alleged role in the controversial police lease deal that got national police commissioner Bheki Cele sacked. The Moloi inquiry into Cele also questioned Ngobeni’s promotion by Cele and claimed she misled the inquiry under oath. Cele was fired this week.

The Special Investigation Unit is investigating, among other matters, a R342 million tender for police uniforms. According to documents seen by the Sunday Tribune, the tender was awarded to a company owned by Yusuf Vahed, a brother in law of Schabir Shaik.

Vahed’s Kingsgate Clothing Group is contracted to the SAPS to make police uniforms. The SIU has identified 25 contracts worth R342m as irregularly awarded to Kingsgate’s three subsidiaries all operating from the same address.

Regarding Kingsgate, the SIU alleges:

l Possible fraudulent tax clearance certificates submitted.

l The manual alteration of prices on certain tenders – possibly with the collusion of SAPS officials.

An enraged Vahed told the Tribune on Friday that he was not going to lend credence to questions nor answer the allegations.

“Your sources are faceless and the allegations devoid of any truth. Some of the issues you raised are totally incorrect.

“If you did your homework, you would have known that I took the SAPS to court in 2009 over the same issue and I won. That order is valid and it stands.”

Following the Moloi Report, Ngobeni is now the subject of calls from the DA for her to be fired.

In the report, Ngobeni and SAPS national chief operations officer Lieutenant-General Bonang Mngwenya were criticised for their “attempt to mislead” the board.

Phiyega said while she was aware of the finding against Ngobeni, she would not say anything until such time that President Jacob 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 there are internal processes under way.

“Perhaps when I start meeting the management and talking to the people I will know what to say, but for now I’m totally oblivious of the issue,” Phiyega said.

However, a SAPS headquarters source said police management was concerned over Ngobeni’s conduct.

“If anything, the board of inquiry revealed some leadership weaknesses in General Ngobeni. (Together) with the new national commissioner, the legal department and HR will most definitely look at the matter,” said the source.

This week a colleague of Ngobeni’s said the Moloi Report was taking its toll and the commissioner was not feeling well.

“I understand that she’s also taking legal advice on the matter, which has dealt her dignity a heavy blow and is threatening her career.”

In September, the Hawks questioned the provincial commissioner as a suspect in their corruption probe into allegations that businessman and fraud suspect Thoshan Panday paid for her husband’s birthday party last year.

However, the Hawks dropped the probe in February, saying they was no prospect of a successful prosecution.

Attempts to contact Ngobeni this week failed, but she told the Tribune last month that she had not seen the report and is not sure “where all of this is coming from”.

Phiyega has a tough task ahead of her in dealing with SAPS elements in KZN. Earlier this year police minister Nathi Mthethwa disbanded the controversial Cato Manor unit amid allegations of extra-judicial killings which are the subject of an internal investigation. There have also been reports about irregular payments from SAPS crime intelligence funds to KZN businessmen, including former convict turned businessman Timmy Marimuthu. And there have been a number of top cops suspended in KZN, including KZN crime intelligence boss Deena Moodley.

Sunday Tribune


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