Cele takes judge to High Court over report that led to his axing

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GCWALISILE KHANYILE and DIANNE HAWKER

FORMER national police commissioner Bheki Cele has threatened to produce a video to prove Judge Jake Moloi’s alleged bias against him.

Cele, who submitted a review application in the Pretoria High Court this week, believes he was treated unfairly by Judge Moloi – who chaired the board of inquiry, which ruled that Cele was not fit to hold office after the police buildings lease scandal – and his counterpart advocate Terry Motau.

While Cele has little to say about the third board member advocate Anthea Platt, he launched a scathing attack of Judge Moloi and Motau. He says the two “launched a scathing cross-examination of me… to reinforce their preconception that I was guilty of misconduct even before they considered the whole of the evidence and argument”.

Cele believes the board sided with the evidence team and treated evidence from the defence with “open disdain”.

“At times (Judge Moloi) was laughing with glee when he expressed support for a submission made by the evidence leading team,” Cele says.

Cele also took issue with comments made by Judge Moloi in a radio interview after the conclusion of the inquiry.

He believes Judge Moloi “conjured new and additional assertions and conclusions that were never canvassed during the inquiry”.

“I can only conclude that he was and still is intent on finding me wrong and guilty at all costs and not just before the inquiry but also in public,” he says in papers.

At a press conference this week Cele said he intended filing a complaint against Judge Moloi with the Judicial Service Commission.

He believes the judge was pressured into finding him guilty of misconduct.

Contacted for comment on Friday, Judge Moloi said he “would not comment on the case”.

Motau said he would not comment because he had not read the papers and did not know the grounds for Cele’s case. Platt also would not comment.

Cele wants the report by the board to be set aside. He had previously argued in submissions to President Jacob Zuma that the board of inquiry’s report reflected “a lopsided” consideration of the evidence placed before it.

The board of inquiry found that Cele was dishonest, conflicted, negligent and unfit for office.

“The evidence proves beyond doubt that (Cele) misconducted (sic) himself in the process of procuring the leases, is not fit for the office he holds, and lacks capacity for executing his official duties efficiently.

“His conduct during the hearing and his endeavours to pass the blame on to his subordinates denotes and demonstrates his lack of even appreciating his position as the head of the SAPS and, in particular, as the accounting officer of the SAPS,” the report says.

Cele says the inquiry ignored the “undisputed” facts that under his leadership the crime rate was reduced, fewer SAPS members were killed and police morale was high.

Cele had allegedly procured two lease deals for the police HQ to the tune of R1.6 billion, without following proper processes.

In terms of legislation, the police were meant to only identify their needs and leave the procurement process to the Department of Public Works.

“By his own admission, Cele unashamedly declared that he appended his signature to financial documents when placed before him without much ado, as he placed his trust and consequently his duty, on his subordinates. This can be seen as nothing else but an abrogation and a neglect of duty, of the highest order,” the report says.

Cele through his spokesman Vuyo Mkhize had previously said: “While Cele accepts that it is the president’s prerogative to appoint and fire the national police commissioner, he also believes that nobody – Judge Jake Moloi and President Jacob Zuma included – has a right to make legally unsound and defamatory claims about his character and conduct.”

Presidency spokesman Mac Maharaj said Zuma would not respond in the media but in papers before the court.

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