Johannesburg - National police commissioner General Riah Phiyega is facing charges of defeating the ends of justice and a breach of national security for allegedly alerting a senior manager that he was being investigated.
Phiyega allegedly informed the senior police officer, whose name is known to The Star, that crime intelligence had monitored his cellphone.
Phiyega had reportedly been informed about the interception and the imminent arrest by crime intelligence of the high-ranking officer.
A highly placed source said: “The person is one of the top police brass, so it was important to inform the national commissioner.”
According to a source, investigations had revealed that the officer was on the payroll of an alleged druglord in return for helping him to evade the law.
The Star can reveal that on October 19, suspended acting divisional commissioner for crime intelligence and protection services Major-General Chris Ngcobo instructed crime intelligence officers in Cape Town to open a case against Phiyega after listening to a transcript of a conversation between her and the officer.
Ngcobo also wrote a letter to the inspector-general on the same day, informing him
of his instruction.
Phiyega reportedly summoned Ngcobo to an urgent meeting during which he was informed that he would be placed on special leave because it had emerged during a vetting process that there were discrepancies in his qualifications and that he could therefore not obtain a security clearance.
A crime intelligence application for permission to intercept the cellphone of the alleged druglord precipitated the chain of events.
The spies reportedly discovered during the investigation that a member of the police’s top brass was in cahoots with the alleged druglord and was helping him to evade the police.
“At first they (crime intelligence members) picked up that the senior police officer was one of the suspect’s regular callers.
“They started following this officer and, at one point, he was seen at the druglord’s house,” said a source, who wanted to remain anonymous.
This prompted an application to intercept his phone and a probe into his financial affairs.
“After a thorough analysis of his accounts was conducted, it revealed that he was getting financial support from the drug dealer.
“The investigations also showed that this senior police officer was taking the large sum of money that he was getting from the druglord and using it to gamble at a casino,” the source said.
“He would change the money into coins and would end up not spending all of it. That way, he would be getting the clean money from the casino…
“This he was doing only to get rid of the money he got from the druglord,” the source added.
The Star has seen a statement in a docket opened at Bishop Lavis in Cape Town.
In it, the officer says: “On 2013-10-20 I discovered that one of the targets of an operation I was involved in was informed by the national commissioner of the details of the investigation after she was briefed in confidence of the investigation.
“I then took advice from legal services and exposed them to all the details and, after much deliberation, they advised that I should open a case docket.
“I then did this with the understanding that a person from legal services (would) assist in drafting my statement at a later stage.
“I want further investigation in the matter and looking at charges of defeating (the) ends of justice.”
DA spokeswoman on the police Dianne Kohler Barnard said on Thursday night she had asked a question in Parliament after following an anonymous tip-off that the Hawks had investigated the particular officer for the past year for taking a bribe from an alleged criminal.
She said Phiyega should have known that discussing the investigation with the officer was against the law.
“Even if you don’t know anything about policing, this should have been the last thing Phiyega would have done,” she said.
The national commissioner has not formally been informed of a case which has been opened against her. She is, however, aware of it.
Although the national commissioner does not expect her colleagues to behave in such an underhanded manner, it comes as no surprise, given some of the mischievous activities conducted by crime intelligence in the past.
It is clear this is a lame attempt by certain individuals within crime intelligence to discredit the national commissioner and derail the process of flushing out those within the SAPS who have no integrity and have no interest in taking the SAPS forward.
It is interesting that this matter surfaces through some faceless people shortly after the national commissioner’s decision to put the former acting divisional commissioner on special leave to allow for criminal and disciplinary investigations to be conducted.
The national commissioner’s message to these individuals follows: “You can try as much as you like, but you will not succeed. No mud thrown at me will stick. I remain determined to ensure that nothing, absolutely nothing, deters me and my leadership team from the new journey of rebuilding SAPS, especially the crime intelligence division.”
Our information is that this matter has been handed to Ipid (Independent Police Investigative Directorate) for investigation. We will await Ipid to contact us should they intend to continue with the matter.
The facts are as follows:
A parliamentary question was received from the DA as to whether there was an investigation into a bribery matter against a certain provincial commissioner.
In the normal process of gathering information to enable the department to prepare a response on the minister’s behalf, the DA enquiry ended up in the provincial commissioner’s office after passing through various officials.
It was at that point that the provincial commissioner called the national commissioner to enquire about the investigation. It, therefore, cannot be argued that the national commissioner alerted the provincial commissioner about the investigation.
Simply put, there was no crime committed by the national commissioner.