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Ipid legal battle with Phahlane nears R1m

Crime & Courts
Johannesburg – The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) has complained about a mounting legal bill in its fight with top cop Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane.

Legal costs for the directorate in its battles with the acting national commissioner had reached almost R1 million, Ipid boss Robert McBride told MPs last week.

This was unsustainable, he said, and was taking up much-needed resources.

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Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane is being investigated for corruption by the police watchdog. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/ANA Pictures

This followed the legal challenge by Phahlane, following an Ipid raid on his home, where a sound system worth R80 000 was seized.

Phahlane is being investigated for corruption by the police watchdog.

“So far the bill for Ipid to defend our search warrant is in excess of R900 000,” he said.

He said this was a lot of money compared to the litigation budget of the police.

He said they were involved in a legal war with Phahlane after he took them to court following their raid on his home.

McBride also accused Phahlane of interfering in their investigations by bringing in a unit from the North West to conduct counter-investigations against Ipid investigators.

He said this was uncalled for, and he asked Parliament to intervene.

The head of investigations at Ipid, Mathew Sesoko, said when Parliament was amending the Ipid Act this year it should look closely at this matter, and how to obviate it.

“This is where we need the committee to assist us. It cannot be that when we investigate senior members of the police they can in turn initiate an investigation against our investigators. State power is used to deflect investigations. We don’t have this problem when we investigate junior officials,” said Sesoko.

Leonard Ramatlakane, of the ANC, said they were concerned about the conduct of Phahlane.

He said the committee would have to discuss this when it meets next week.

Committee chairperson Francois Beukman said they would meet again next week to discuss the matter.

He said that when Parliament discussed the Ipid Act they would look at how they could avoid this.

“We will discuss it next week. It’s a huge concern to us. It’s not correct. Ipid must be able to do their job without pressure,” said Beukman.

A spokesperson for Phahlane, Athlenda Mathe, said the matter was a subject of investigation and court process. She said she would not be able to comment further because the matter was before court.

Political Bureau

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