Another top cop suspended

2013-06-09 14:00

Latest crisis follows hot on the heels of the arrest of two senior crime intelligence agents

The new chief financial officer of the police’s beleaguered crime ­intelligence division has been ­suspended and an alleged criminal syndicate has been exposed in its ranks.

The latest crisis follows the ­suspensions last year of crime ­intelligence boss Lieutenant General Richard Mdluli and former chief ­financial officer Major General Solly Lazarus.

Both Mdluli and Lazarus were suspended from crime intelligence in 2011 after allegations of fraud and corruption linked to the division’s secret fund. Their suspensions were briefly lifted last year when they were reinstated and then suspended again.

But last week, acting finance chief Brigadier Obed Nemutanzhela, who was appointed by police management to introduce stricter financial control over secret fund expenditure, was also suspended.

City Press understands that ­Nemutanzhela was suspended ­following an alleged leak of secret ­information to a colleague and the unlawful purchase of several cars from the unit’s secret fund.

The development comes as a ­senior crime intelligence officer with a top secret security clearance was this week charged in connection with a cash-in-transit attack in which R3 million was robbed in ­Sasolburg in February.

The arrest of Captain Morris Tshabalala – nicknamed “Captain KGB” – forms part of a wider investigation into the mastermind of cash-in-transit robberies involving more than R30 million.

Another crime intelligence ­officer, Sergeant Wilby Molefe, and four other accused have been charged alongside Tshabalala.

Three guards were injured in the Sasolburg attack.

Tshabalala is said to have been one of the rising stars in crime ­intelligence prior to his arrest.

He is in custody and will apply for bail on Thursday.

He led a covert intelligence and operational team for crime intelligence and had access to the most secret information, including ­threats against the state, the president and Cabinet ministers.

He was instrumental in foiling an alleged right-wing plot to attack the top leadership of the ANC at their elective conference in ­Mangaung in December last year.

Investigators believe that Tshabalala used his position and his security clearance to plot and carry out the heists but he has, however, told supporters that he believes he was set up due to his role in investigating allegations against Mdluli.

Police were tight-lipped this week about both the alleged ­syndicate and the suspension of Nemutanzhela.

SA Police Service (SAPS) spokesperson Brigadier Phuti

Setati said: “Matters raised in your enquiry are purely internal issues and the SAPS wishes to ­reserve its comment.”

City Press understands Nemutanzhela’s suspension is also related to the crime intelligence investigation into the recent hacking of the police website.

In May, the identities of ­thousands of South African crime whistle-blowers who lodged complaints with police on their website were revealed by a hacker.

Crime ­intelligence’s cybercrime unit investigated the ­security breach and handed their report to Nemutanzhela, who ­allegedly failed to pass it on to crime intelligence head Major General Chris Ngcobo.

Nemutanzhela is also in trouble after crime intelligence went on a spending spree in the last quarter of the 2011/2012 financial year, when R35 million worth of cars ­were bought from the secret fund.

The Sunday Independent reported on the spree, involving 140 cars, which was described in a secret ­report to the joint standing ­committee on intelligence.

City Press understands top ­officers were using luxury cars and that one incurred a cost of more than R8 000 after he lost the keys to a state-of-the-art Audi.

The issue of the cars came to the fore after crime intelligence ­received a qualified audit for the 2011/12 financial year.

The auditors queried the purchase of the cars as it contravened the Secret Services Act.

An earlier Hawks investigation into the looting of the secret fund found that both Mdluli and ­Lazarus bought a host of luxury cars for their own use and for their family members and friends they appointed.

Lazarus has been charged with theft, fraud and corruption.

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