Former KZN Hawks boss Major-General (Ret) Johan Booysen on Wednesday told the commission of inquiry into state capture that an approximate R195 000 was paid from the secret services account to build a fence at the private residence of former police minister Nathi Mthethwa.
Mthethwa served in the ministry – previously known as Safety and Security – from 2008 to 2014.
Booysen said the fence was built at Mthethwa’s private residence in Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal, without procedures being followed, using funds from the incorrect account. Additionally, Booysen explained the amount paid was R95 000 in excess of the R100 000 permitted by the ministerial handbook for upgrades.
Booysen was giving evidence on the investigation of the looting and abuse of the secret services account, which was meant to be used by crime intelligence for covert operations.
One of the transactions which was under investigation was the construction of a fence at Mthethwa’s private residence at a cost of just over R195 000, Booysen told the commission.
He said according to his understanding when the matter was brought to Mthethwa’s attention the former police minister was apparently unaware that the funds for the fencing had been sourced from the secret services account.
In October last year, Booysen mentioned the upgrade at Mthethwa’s private residence during a radio interview on 702, he told the commission, which subsequently led to Mthethwa contacting the journalist who hosted the interview to comment that the former KZN Hawks boss was “grasping at straws” because the ministerial handbook entitled a minister to receive upgrades.
Booysens said this prompted him to check the ministerial handbook, which permits for upgrades of up to R100 000 with the beneficiary personally liable to settle any excess amount.
Booysens further told the commission that according to his understanding the funds for Mthethwa’s fence should have come from an open account or parliamentary budget or the police’s budget and processed through the department of public works.
He said he is not aware whether attempts have been made to reallocate funds to the secret service account and settle this excess.
Former executive director of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) Robert McBride last week gave evidence at the commission about officers’ rampant abuse of crime intelligence’s secret service account.
McBride also told the commission how crime intelligence covered up the plunder of state resources.
“People in charge of the agent network employed family members as agents and drew salaries and agent fees from the secret service account.”
(Additional reporting, Brian Sokutu.)