Judge slams Nathi, Riah

2014-04-27 15:00

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Auditor Johan Roos was treated like a ‘cancer’for exposing corruption in his unit

Alabour court judge has criticised Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and national police commissioner Riah Phiyega for displaying “disturbing inertia” in dealing with a whistle-blower’s allegations of fraud and corruption in the police’s crime intelligence unit.

Judge Robert Lagrange this week found that auditor Colonel Johan Roos was treated like a “cancer” by his superiors after he produced a dossier alleging that crime intelligence members were involved in murder, torture, fake hijackings and wholesale looting of the unit’s secret slush fund.

According to Lagrange’s judgment, when Roos reported the corruption to police generals and senior officers, his “vindictive superiors” moved him to a “meaningless and unproductive post”, where he sat idle for several years.

“The respondents have simply allowed the manifestly improper treatment of the applicant [Roos] to continue and nothing was done to reverse the prejudicial measures taken against him,” Lagrange found.

The respondents in Roos’ labour court case were Mthethwa, Phiyega and the SA Police Service (SAPS) itself.

In documents before the court, Roos revealed that he first reported the alleged looting of the fund to his superiors in 2004.

He was the head of the internal audit department at crime intelligence at the time. Roos also claimed that in 2009, suspended former crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli ordered an end to his investigation, allegedly saying that the “organisation was bigger than any individuals”.

Mdluli moved Roos to a new but nonfunctioning unit and, Roos told the court, he continued investigating what was happening in crime intelligence.

He testified that he then became the subject of a counter­intelligence investigation.

He received a threatening note in his postbox and his home was broken into.

Lagrange found “these criminal actions were consonant with the official steps taken to shut down his investigations?…?to minimise the risk of him discovering more”.

Lagrange commended Roos in his judgment, saying he conducted himself with “scrupulous discretion” in exposing corruption.

“His reward was not praise for excelling in what he was expected to do. Instead, he was gradually deprived of his authority and then placed in a state of internal exile.”

Mdluli ignored a subpoena from the ­police to appear in court.

Lagrange said in his judgment that as well as Mdluli refusing to honour a properly served subpoena, the police failed to invoke provisions of the Superior Courts Act to force his appearance in court.

That left the police with their only other witness: former crime intelligence head Mulangi Mphego, who also featured prominently in both Roos’ testimony and his dossier.

Mphego undertook to consult with ­police lawyers but did not honour this commitment.

Lagrange ordered the police to redeploy 49-year-old Roos in the internal audit unit of crime intelligence or in another unit or section of the police.

The service should also give preference to Roos in any application for appointment or promotion in a post.

They must also pay Roos compensation of R156?250 and settle his legal bill. The SAPS had not responded to requests for comment at the time of going to press.

.?The SAPS has taken City Press to the Press Ombudsman for reporting last month that Mthethwa knew about the allegations contained in Roos’ dossier but did not act on them.

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