; Court ruling prohibits tit-for-tat police, Ipid investigations – The Citizen

Court ruling prohibits tit-for-tat police, Ipid investigations

Then acting national police commissioner, Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane looks at the new fleet of cars that were handed over to the Public Order Police at the SAPS training academy during a Public Order Police Unit showcase event, 31 May 2017, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Then acting national police commissioner, Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane looks at the new fleet of cars that were handed over to the Public Order Police at the SAPS training academy during a Public Order Police Unit showcase event, 31 May 2017, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

The matter stems from Ipid investigating suspended Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane, after which the police started probing Ipid members.

Police officers may not investigate cases about members of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) in which they have a personal interest, the High Court in Pretoria has ruled.

Judge Neil Tuchten yesterday granted an order declaring that no member of the police may oversee or conduct or assist with an investigation against a member of Ipid in which they have a personal, financial or any other interest which may preclude them from exercising their powers in an objective manner.

If an officer realised during the course of an investigation that the matter involved their own financial or other interests, they must immediately report it to the national police commissioner and withdraw from the investigation.

The court order will remain in force until any statutory rules in the form of standing orders, regulations or national legislation about the issue come into operation.

Undertakings by the suspended Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane and an investigating team of the North West police not to involve themselves in investigations against Ipid members were also confirmed as part of the court order.

Ipid initiated a probe against Phahlane in 2016 for alleged corruption and initiated two criminal cases against him. Shortly after it executed a search warrant at his home, a team of North West police members, in turn, began investigating Ipid’s members.

Ipid maintained the police team had conflicts of interest because they were each the subject of an Ipid investigation into alleged criminal conduct.

The judge said the relationship between Ipid and Saps was fraught. Accusations of serious criminal misconduct have been flung by both sides and deserved to be thoroughly investigated, but no one was entitled to cry victory until the law had spoken.

The hostility appeared to be so bad that he feared a measure of dysfunction had intruded into the relationship between the two services.

He said the Saps had enormous powers and the potential for abuse was obvious, which was primarily why Ipid existed.

It was of special concern that Ipid members were at risk of “revenge investigations” by members of the police service subject to or fearing an Ipid investigation and such members should seldom, if ever, participate in such counter-investigations, Tuchten said.

ALSO READ: Phahlane says he is a target of the ‘captured’ Ipid but won’t go down without a fight

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