Jeremy Vearey going after those who tried to “frame him”
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Cape Town – Former head of detectives in the Western Cape, Major General Jeremy Vearey, has warned that he will take legal action against senior police officers following the release of a damning report into the assassination of Anti-Gang Unit (AGU) detective Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear.
The report was done by police watchdog Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) after a request for an investigation by National Commissioner, Khehla Sitole and National Police Minister, Bheki Cele.
The report found among a range of findings, that a so-called “rogue unit“ existed in the provincial Crime Intelligence and that it had targeted Kinnear, Vearey, and former Crime Intelligence head Peter Jacobs.
The report said the “rogue unit” which Kinnear blew the lid off, was initiated by certain senior police and that top officers were aware of its existence.
In December 2018, Kinnear laid a complaint with his superiors alleging a murder plot against him, Vearey and other police members by the “rogue” unit.
Jacobs recommended, at the time, that the unit be immediately disbanded.
“Now that the independent body has vindicated some of us and has been able to find evidence that suggests that the rogue unit existed, we will come for those who tried to frame and taint our credibility. We will use the legal route,” said Vearey.
The report recommended that disciplinary steps be taken against certain officers of the “rogue unit”.
The Ipid report also said investigations conducted by its task team revealed evidence to the possible criminal conduct of defeating or obstructing the course of justice involving the death of Kinnear.
He was gunned down outside his Bishop Lavis home on September 18 last year. At the time of his murder, Kinnear was investigating the alleged links of some police to the underworld and illegal sale of firearms.
The person who pulled the trigger in the top cop’s assassination remains at large while two suspects including alleged underworld figure, Nafiz Modack and former rugby player, Zane Killian faced charges related to Kinnear’s killing.
The 67-page report paints a picture of serious lack of controls, delayed or lack of relaying pertinent information related to threats to Kinnear and inaction by some high-ranking officers.
The investigation found that certain members of the Hawks failed to initiate or conduct a criminal investigation into the illegal monitoring of Kinnear’s cellphone even though they had knowledge of the person involved in the activity.
“They had sufficient and prima facie evidence at hand to have applied for a search and seizure warrant to stop the illegal monitoring, seized equipment and ensure that the ongoing crime being committed against the state was neutralised,” the report said.
It also highlighted that the Crime Intelligence division of the SAPS failed to properly assess and implement a threat and risk assessment and to ensure personal protection on Kinnear's life.
The task team said there was distrust between the provincial Crime Intelligence and Kinnear.
“This was made clear by the unsubstantiated allegations of corruption against Kinnear and some senior managers perceived to be aligned to him in particular Jacobs and Vearey...who investigated them,” said the report adding that some of the cases were “spurious” and ended up being declined by the Hawks.
Vearey said it was “shocking” that certain information highlighted in the report was linked to a “convergence” of the interest of organised crime to “attacks levelled at us” by certain members of SAPS.
“There was a time when crime syndicates openly threatened us while internally, as now revealed by the Ipid report, we were regarded as the enemy,” said Vearey.
Jacobs was later moved to the Inspectorate Division.
It’s believed that despite the Ipid report clearing him of failure to take measures for Kinnear's personal protection in the days leading up to his murder, he was still facing an internal disciplinary hearing.
Information received by the Ipid task team showed that Jacobs was on sick leave.
Jacobs could not be reached for comment.
The task team also noted with “dismay” the leaking of information about certain cases involving a complaint from an alleged underworld boss to the media and said police had reached a “porous” state and this had the potential to dent the image of the organisation.
“At this stage there’s no evidence of who is responsible,” the report noted, but added that information pertaining to certain cases was leaked to “a journalist and an underworld figure”.
Asked if Sitole had acted on the Ipid report, police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said the “process was underway“.
He said the police would not be giving a “blow-by-blow” account of the process.