‘Spy chiefs used fake info to raid fund’
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SENIOR crime intelligence officials planted paid informers to make fake right-wing-related threats against the government.
This was allegedly part of a wider strategy to loot the unit’s Secret Service Account for personal benefit.
Law enforcement agency sources allege that spy bosses worked their way into the R600 million-a-year slush fund by fabricating information to create a false impression of imminent, unprecedented attacks on black people and ANC members.
It is understood that in the run-up to the ANC’s centenary celebrations in the Free State in January, spy masters in North West used one of their informers to threaten chaos and violence against the ruling party, unless it stemmed farm attacks.
Claiming to have detected a threat, they allegedly asked for and got additional money – believed to be millions – from the slush fund on the pretext that they wanted to remunerate “sources” who tipped them off.
In one incident, a masked man made chilling threats against black people and the ANC in a recorded video last year alongside right-winger Andre Visagie, a former secretary-general of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging who formed the Geloftevolk Republikeine (Covenant People Republicans).
The video was posted on YouTube, sparking fear and costly investigations by law enforcement agencies.
Visagie said he would comment after viewing the video.
Three security cluster sources said the threats were behind the police’s decision to deploy an Nyala permanently outside the ANC’s headquarters in the Joburg CBD.
A confidential document penned by one of the investigators, a copy of which is in the possession of Independent Newspapers, points to the staged events.
These entail crime intelligence officials planting informers to make false threats, meant to justify the looting of the fund by intelligence operatives.
The five-page document outlined the methods used and gave the names of those involved – informers and their police handlers – as well as their backgrounds.
A senior national police official said he was “aware” of the scam, adding that some of those implicated had offered evidence in exchange for immunity from prosecution.
He confirmed that spy bosses cited the need to pay sources as a reason for wanting more resources. “You can say, ‘There is a group I want to impress – I need a Gucci bag’, and you will get it. At times there isn’t a follow-up on whether there was any infiltration.”
It is understood the money was shared among those who masterminded the scam.
Brigadier Thulani Ngubane, North West police spokesman, said they were “not aware” of any abuse of the slush fund. The provincial commissioner would investigate and charge those implicated as he viewed the allegations “seriously”.
While a report by other investigators has noted abuses of the fund under crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli, who has been suspended, it is understood it has been abused for decades. Mdluli has denied any wrongdoing.
The document on the fake threats said investigators had found that a police reservist-turned crime intelligence informer had made the threats.
His handlers were named as Hendrick Swart and a Colonel Pretorius, both of whom refused to comment.
North West crime intelligence boss Nick Engelbrecht referred enquiries to Ngubane, who refused to comment on allegations that the threats had the blessing of handlers. SAPS national spokesman Lindela Mashigo did not respond to a list of questions.