Durban - The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) and the Hawks this week swooped on former acting national police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane and a SAPS contractor, Keith Keating, who was recently fingered in an alleged tender scandal.
The Mercury reported last week that Keating’s company, Forensic Data Analysts (FDA), has been the sole supplier to the SA Police Service - through IT company Sita - of a firearm permit system and software as well as forensic equipment worth around R5.7billion, since 2010.
During a Standing Committee on Public Accounts hearing, the DA’s Tim Brauteseth alleged that Keating rewarded two SAPS members with a trip to Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium six months after Keating had sold forensic camera equipment worth an undisclosed amount to the SAPS through Unisys Africa.
Media reports this week stated that in a letter sent to former acting police commissioner Lieutenant-General Lesetja Mothiba, Ipid said Keating also paid for vehicles for Phahlane, his wife Brigadier Ntombizodwa Phahlane, and his sister.
On Monday the Hawks and Ipid obtained search-and-seizure warrants for several properties linked to the Phahlanes and Keating in which documents, computer equipment, cell phones, iPads and a Ford Ranger were seized.
Media reports stated that this week’s raids were conducted under the direction of the Special Commercial Crime Unit, and were part of Ipid’s investigation into allegations of corruption and money laundering involving Phahlane.
The investigation detected possible crimes of corruption, fraud and money laundering, facilitated by car dealer Durand Snyman and paid for by Keating.
The properties searched included Phahlane’s home in Sable Hills near Pretoria, Keating’s FDA offices and home, Snyman’s office and home, and Phahlane’s mother’s house, where his sister lives.
Both Ipid and the Hawks refused to comment on an ongoing investigation.
Speaking to The Mercury on Thursday, Phahlane welcomed the probe into the allegations made against him, saying the investigation would clear his name.
“No one is above the law. They had search warrants and we must follow due processes,” he said, adding that he did not appreciate two male officers allegedly physically searching his two daughters, aged nine and 13.
He confirmed that officers seized documents and computer equipment from his Sable Hills home.
Two home computers, two computers that belong to his daughters and two of his personal iPads were seized, along with documents that he claims “have nothing to do with this investigation”.
Phahlane said the documents related to a string of emails from forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan, who is investigating Phahlane after questions were raised about the top cop’s cars, property, and a sound system.
“There was nothing found that was not supposed to be in my house. Not that I have anything to hide,” Phahlane said.
He added that it was “all wild allegations”.
At his mother’s house, police seized his sister’s Ford Ranger that he said had been purchased from Snyman’s dealership.
“This was fully paid for by her, and I hope that when they are done with the investigation they will return the car back to her fully valeted,” Phahlane said.
His sister’s digital tablet and bank statements were also seized.
He said he was aware that his wife, who works in the technology management services unit, has been accused of helping Keating secure forensics and IT tenders from the SAPS.
“My wife works in that unit, and she is a brigadier and not the head of the unit. She does not deal with procurement processes, and neither do I. I don’t sit on any panel or platform that decided on tenders and contracts,” he said.
Keating confirmed that his house and office had been raided around 6 am on Monday, adding that his lawyers were busy dealing with the raids and the “shortcomings and violations in terms of the search and seizure warrant”.
“I categorically deny these wild accusations as a final desperate attempt to continue the outright onslaught against Lieutenant-General Phahlane.
“Let the criminal justice system take its course and then we can all decide,” Keating said.
He added that the reports from Ipid were “absurd”, and claimed the SAPS payments to FDA of R4.2 billion were incorrect.
“This was overstated by more than R3.7billion. Basic, basic facts that they could very easily have verified. The allegations by Bowmans (a legal firm conducting a forensic investigation into FDA), Ipid and Sita around tender irregularities are ridiculous,” Keating said.
The DA’s Brauteseth on Thursday welcomed the raid on the pair, saying he fully supported the investigations by the Hawks and Ipid.