Top spy spills the beans

2012-12-16 10:01

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The suspended top police spy who held the purse strings of the crime intelligence unit says he has evidence implicating top police generals in the looting of the unit’s secret fund.

He has also accused the Hawks of attempting to weaken the intelligence services ahead of the ANC’s elective conference in Mangaung.

This has emerged from a debriefing paper, compiled by agents from the State Security Agency (SSA), after several meetings in August with Major-General Solly Lazarus.

City Press has had access to the debriefing document, titled Issues of National Security and Related Matters to Crime Intelligence.

A source close to Lazarus who spoke to City Press said Lazarus is now contemplating disclosing this information following his arrest this week on charges of fraud.

“Lazarus has stayed quiet so far, but he might decide to reveal everything,” the source said, “he believes he has done nothing wrong and simply followed orders.”

Lazarus – who was in charge of the secret fund – and Colonel Heine Barnard were this week charged with theft, fraud and two counts of corruption each.

They appeared in the Pretoria Magistrates’ Court and were released on R10?000 bail each.

They are accused of stealing R1.1?million from the secret fund through a front company.

If convicted, they could face jail terms of between 15 and b25 years.

The document states that two top generals and three brigadiers participated in a “R35?million spending spree”, which included the transfer of “about 6 to 10 vehicles” to them.

The generals and brigadiers are named by Lazarus, who said the “necessary documentary proof” concerning the spending spree “is available”.

He told the investigators: “Yet they are still comfortable in their positions at work. There is sufficient evidence against them for suspension.”

In the debriefing paper, Lazarus slams the scrutiny he and the unit are facing. He states that there was a “devilish and evil agenda” behind this.

“The fear is this will result in a total disaster,” he told the investigators. “Such evidence will be to the detriment of President Jacob Zuma, ministers, the ANC and not good for the country’s standing.”

He said the investigation “has spiked adrenaline levels” and will lead to a “total breakdown”.

He told SSA agents the allegations against him were totally false and he “will disclose things that should not be made known”.

He said: “All the annual approvals (of secret fund operations) were done by the president personally.”

Lazarus said the intention behind the investigation was to weaken intelligence capabilities in the build-up to the ANC’s conference. “There is an attack on very senior politicians and the government and, in fact, the ANC.”

If the campaign against crime intelligence continued, he said, it would “leave our leaders without intelligence to ward off potential threats”, adding it had been especially damaging to the unit’s ability to deal with “Islamic extremism and right-wing threats”.

Lazarus also did not rule out the involvement of “an outside force or potentially foreign support base”.

He also criticised the “continued exposure” of crime intelligence and blamed the Auditor-General, Terence Nombembe, for giving

the Hawks information.

Lazarus said former crime intelligence head, Richard Mdluli, was the initial target of the investigation, but after investigators realised they “don’t have a case”, they targeted him and Barnard.

Lazarus claims the car agent, who supplied Mdluli and the unit with a fleet of luxury vehicles and allegedly helped them pocket discounts, was in fact “an excellent backstopping agent that involves issues of national security of a very serious and sensitive nature”.

In addition, the luxurious Island Rock holiday resort on KwaZulu-Natal’s north coast was used by the “religious extremism sector” and would have to be “restored to its previous secrecy”.

The exposure of the unit’s front company, UTE, was a “crime to national security”.

Lazarus also slammed the current management, saying they are completely overwhelmed by the intelligence world and lack experience.

Crime intelligence is now led by former Zuma bodyguard, Major-General Chris Ngcobo.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Phuti Setati said the police would not be drawn into discussing crime intelligence issues.

Lazarus did not respond to requests for comment.

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