Spooks probe Nkandla leak

2014-01-19 14:00

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State Security Agency and SAPS launch investigations to seek out party behind disclosure.

The State Security Agency and the SA Police Service are investigating who leaked Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s provisional Nkandla report to the Mail & Guardian late last year.

City Press can reveal that Madonsela’s investigators have also met former police commissioner Bheki Cele.

He was head of the SAPS at the time the decision was taken to upgrade President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead.

Cele denies the meeting, but Madonsela confirmed that her investigators had met the axed former commissioner to hear his version of events.

Madonsela also confirmed that she knew about the investigations.

But she said she would not participate in them unless they became part of a judicial commission of inquiry headed by a judge.

Madonsela, who came under attack from ministers in the security cluster for the leak of the report to the Mail & Guardian newspaper last year, said she was informed about both the investigations.

The newspaper reported last year that in her provisional report, Madonsela found that Zuma had “personally” benefited from the R208?million security upgrades to his private residence.

The provisional report also said he should repay a “reasonable” amount to the state for the non-security items installed in his house.

Madonsela’s final report into the matter is due to be released next month.

She has attributed the delay to one of the affected and interested parties asking for more time to respond to the contents of the report.

Madonsela said: “We were informed that the SAPS is also conducting a similar investigation.

“We have asked not to be party to these investigations because of our independence.

“They are entitled to conduct those investigations as long as they don’t touch my office,” she said.

“My office will only participate if the investigation is a commission of inquiry, headed by a judge and we have advised the SAPS and State Security of this.”

Responding to Cele’s denial that she had asked him to help in the Nkandla probe, Madonsela stuck to her initial statement that her “team met with him” to discuss Nkandla.

Cele’s spokesperson Vuyo Mkhize however, said the former cop boss had not communicated with Madonsela nor her officials.

“No such request for information has come from the Public Protector.

“Maybe you should ask her whether she has sent out the invitation to Cele.

“But if Madonsela wishes to communicate with him, she needs to find ways to contact him because he has not received any such request,” said Mkhize.

Madonsela did not want to reveal what her investigators had asked Cele.

But City Press understands that she wanted more clarity on whether Zuma knew about the security upgrades in accordance with the Cabinet policy on presidential security upgrades.

This policy states that the police minister has to inform the president about the costs involved in any such project.

Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi has insisted that Zuma knew nothing about the renovations and would not be asked to repay any money spent on Nkandla.

Zuma also told Parliament that he knew nothing about the renovations.

State Security Agency spokesperson Brian Dube would not reveal who had asked for the investigations into the leak.

He said it was within the agency’s mandate “to probe breaches of information that pertain to national security or information that could have national security implications”.

However, Dube said it was not the policy of the agency to reveal details of investigations.

Nxesi’s adviser Phillip Masilo confirmed that the leak was being investigated by the State Security Agency.

But he said he did not know who had lodged the complaint.

“We did not request any investigation to be done.

“However, the department of state security is going to investigate the matter.

“We will cooperate fully because we have got nothing to hide.

“It’s not our report that was leaked and we believe it was never leaked from our department,” said Masilo.

Police spokesperson Solomon Makgale had not responded to questions about the SAPS investigation at the time of going to press.

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