‘No evidence to tie Cele to Nkandla’

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Former police commissioner Bheki Cele File picture: Marilyn Bernard

Pretoria - There is no testimony in the Public Protector's possession linking former police commissioner Bheki Cele to security upgrades at President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead.

“There is not a single witness testimony that records him (Cele) of having done or not done anything in relation to Nkandla,” Cele's spokesman Vuyo Mkhize told Sapa on Friday.

According to The Mail & Guardian on Friday, a leaked Public Protector's letter showed Cele failed to stop fruitless and wasteful expenditure at Nkandla, in KwaZulu-Natal.

Thuli Madonsela reportedly wrote to Cele that police and the departments of public works and defence had not followed proper processes.

She provisionally found that Cele, as the police's accounting officer during the period under investigation, had failed to stop excessive spending.

Madonsela declined to comment to the M&G. Her spokeswoman, Kgalalelo Masibi, told Sapa: “We don't comment on ongoing investigations.”

Mkhize said Madonsela had expected Cele to make submissions responding to preliminary findings against him which were not backed up by evidence.

“He was told by the Public Protector herself that there was not a single document in front (of her)... that implicated him. It was mind-boggling that (she) was saying there was no evidence and yet she had made this finding.”

Cele met Madonsela on January 16 and was expecting the documents to be there. His lawyers had asked Madonsela to make available police documents and correspondence relating to the Nkandla project, to enable him to give a proper reply.

The M&G reported in November that Madonsela had found in her preliminary report that Zuma had misled Parliament and had benefited substantially from the R206 million upgrade to his homestead.

An inter-ministerial task team report on the Nkandla expenditure was released in December, after it was declassified, confirming that a total of R206 420 644 was spent on the upgrade.

Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi, who initially classified the report, said at its release that allegations that Zuma had used state resources to build and upgrade the residence were unfounded.

African National Congress secretary general Gwede Mantashe said earlier that if Madonsela released her final report close to the elections it would indicate an intention to “muddy the waters in the election campaign”.

The report's release date was expected to be announced around February 9.

Sapa


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