Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
15 Jan 2019
6:11 am

Ipid and SAPS in tug-of-war over records

Ilse de Lange

The police watchdog is investigating alleged fraud and corruption involving the police's top management.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) says it was not a party to a court application by national police commissioner Khehla Sitole and two of his deputies to compel a Pretoria magistrate to hand over “records” she considered when issuing subpoenas against them.

Ipid national spokesperson Moses Dlamini said Iipid had nothing to do with the commissioner’s application, which was brought against the magistrate only and was not opposed.

It was therefore not a question of Ipid opposing and losing a legal skirmish against the commissioner.

He said Ipid had no problem with the police getting the documents, but would continue to vigorously pursue a counterapplication against the bid by the commissioner and his deputies to set aside the subpoenas issued by the magistrate.

No date has yet been set for the police’s main application and the counter-application.

The subpoenas required them and Bo Mbindwane, an adviser to former police minister Fikile Mbalula, to subject themselves to Ipid to be interviewed with regards to Ipid’s investigation into alleged multimillion-rand tender fraud and corruption involving Durban company I-View.

Sitole and his co-applicants have challenged the legality of the subpoenas, claiming the information and documents they were required to produce was “intelligence information that might compromise the national security and the identities of the operatives of the intelligence community”.

Ipid launched a counterapplication for the court to set aside Sitole’s refusal to declassify the requested documents and to declare that Sitole and his deputies had failed in their duties to cooperate with Ipid.

Ipid director Robert McBride in court papers denied that the information constituted intelligence information and alleged the documents were unlawfully classified “to cover up the commission of suspected crimes”.

He revealed that Ipid was currently conducting three investigations of suspected fraud and corruption involving SA Police Service (SAPS) management.

The investigations included an alleged aborted attempt by SAPS Crime Intelligence “to illegally obtain money through the procurement from I-View of a cellphone grabber at a grossly inflated price of R45 million”, which was allegedly to be “laundered for the buying of votes at the ANC’s 54th national elective conference” and to be “an unlawful attempt to steal public money through a rigged procurement process”.

Sitole recommended in December 2017 that payment for the grabber transaction be stopped immediately.

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