Zondo commission hears of abuse of crime intelligence secret service funds
Johannesburg - The Zondo commission has heard how the crime intelligence secret service account was abused for the benefit of crime intelligence officials.
Hawks official Colonel Kobus Roelofse testified at the Zondo commission on Tuesday and detailed his investigation into the abuse of the secret service account held by SAPS’ crime intelligence (CI) unit.
The account is used mainly for the provision of funds for CI agents to purchase assets and conduct investigations related to their work. It is not meant for private purposes.
Roelofse said earlier that his evidence would focus on his investigation into the abuse of the secret service account and also the lack of progress in several cases due to the unwillingness from SAPS officials.
He detailed how while he was investigating former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli over his involvement in the murder and kidnapping which took place in Vosloorus he was approached by a number of CI officials who wanted to report the abuse of the secret service account.
The Hawks official interviewed the individuals and obtained statements from them. It was the revelations by a Colonel Naidoo, who admitted to his alleged fraud in the illegal transactions, which assisted him in his investigation.
Naidoo was later threatened and had to be placed in a safe house as he had faced threats from some of his CI colleagues.
Roelofse decided to investigate the matter and found that while they searching Mdluli’s house in 2011 two vehicles were found in his house. He said the vehicles were purchased using CI secret service funds.
He pointed to Colonel Hein Barnard as the one who purchased the vehicles using a company called “Company x”. The name of the company has been withheld by the commission.
Criminal charges of fraud and corruption were brought against Barnard and Mdluli. The charges were later withdrawn by NPA official Lawrence Mrwebi.
In another instance, secret service funds were used to fund the travel of Mdluli and for his wife and children to fly from Cape Town to Johannesburg. Roelofse said Naidoo had admitted to this. He said this was unusual and that secret service funds cannot be used for private travel and if it was official business then it would have to be done through SAPS’ open account.
Former crime intelligence official Solly Lazarus, who was in charge of finances of the crime intelligence secret service account, had signed off on most of these transactions.
“The purpose of my testimony is the abuse of classification. Documents were classified and this allowed for the none prosecution of those involved in the transactions. The classification is used as an excuse not to continue with the investigations. It becomes very difficult to declassify the documents,” said Roelofse.
Naidoo had also told Roelofse that Lazarus used the account to also pay journalists and appoint defence lawyers.IOL