It was not clear to a senior Independent Police Investigative Directorate investigator in its specialised investigative team how a request for statements regarding the involvement of top officials in a meeting could be regarded as classified.
This was according to the investigator statement upon which a Pretoria magistrate based a decision to issue subpoenas for national commissioner General Khehla Sithole and deputy national commissioner of crime detection lieutenant-general Lebeoana Tsumane to provide information relating to Ipid’s probe into three corruption cases.
They were to be joined by deputy national commissioner of management advisory services Major-General Francinah Ntombenhle Vuma and Bo Mbindwane, then an adviser to then police minister Fikile Mbalula.
Sithole recently won court action to gain access to the record of the magistrate’s decision.
Contained in the record seen by The Citizen, the subpoena required the four to submit an affidavit about the December 13 meeting to Ipid by May 29.
“During preliminary investigations and after receiving reliable information it was established that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the emergency procurement of a cellphone grabbing device at a bloated mount of R45,000,000,” the statement by the Ipid investigator read.
“The device would cost about R7,000,000 through normal procurement process from other service providers.”
The presence of Mbindwane at the meeting has raised eyebrows.
“The law forbids me to comment on matters around top secret intelligence matters,” Mbindwane told The Citizen yesterday.
“Save to say I deny that I was party to a procurement meeting with any service provider. I’m caught up in the middle and frankly I’m frustrated, yet there is so much the public must know.”
Ipid has alleged the R45 million was to be channelled through Crime Intelligence to buy votes at the December 2017 ANC elective conference.
Daily Maverick’s investigative unit Scorpio wrote recently that Sitole “immediately stopped payment to I-View when Ipid contacted and alerted him shortly after the Pretoria meeting as to the illegality of the procurement. It was a heist, Ipid told Sitole in not so many words – an inside job that should in no way be approved”.
Court action is in play for documents pertaining to the meeting, which Sithole & Co have declared secret.