Cele didn't seek lease advice - witness

2012-03-12 22:43

kalahari.com

  • Police
    A 'behind the scenes' look at how the emergency services work. Now R310.00
    buy now

Pretoria - Suspended police chief Bheki Cele did not seek advice from his legal adviser on the contentious Sanlam Middestad building lease, a board of inquiry into his fitness for office heard on Monday.

Defence witness General Julius Molefe said he was not privy to the finer details around the lease as he had not been briefed or consulted on the matter.

"The way I work is, I give advice when it is requested. I can only give advice when advice is sought from me," said Molefe.

Evidence leader Viwe Notshe quizzed Molefe over his visit to the Middestad building in March 2010 with former deputy commissioner and procurement head Hamilton Hlela and another police official.

Molefe said it was on Hlela's instruction that they were to do the inspection.

He denied playing a part in the procurement process and said he had gone there "by accident".

"I have no full recollection of events that day, but I did not make any specific contribution there," he said.

Molefe had gone to Hlela's office with a "General Ngwenya" who had been invited on March 25 2010, to discuss new office space for the police.

A short while later, Hlela took them to the Sanlam Middestad building, in Pretoria, he said.

While Notshe claimed that Molefe and the other officials met the buildings' owner Roux Shabangu at the Middestad building, Molefe said he did not remember the people he had met that day.

He said it was not just two people, as Hlela testified, but "a number of people".

"So all of these people were showing you the building in unison? They were all singing a chorus?" asked Notshe.

Molefe said his only link to the building was that his unit was among those which were supposed to be moved.

He said he had no reason to question whether procurement processes were followed because Hlela, his senior, was handling the matter. "I was only there by invitation."

Asked why he had not raised questions since he knew that Cele had withdrawn all delegation from his subordinates for transactions over R500,000, Molefe said he saw no reason to think the process was done without Cele's knowledge.

Molefe was also asked to explain why he did not report to Cele about the visit to a potential police headquarters.

"The deputy commissioners had access to the national commissioner. I didn't find a reason to come and report. I was there by coincidence. Why would I assume this was being done without General Cele's knowledge? Hlela was the head of procurement", said Molefe.

Cele's attorney Vincent Maleka earlier brought in General Audrey Mafome, who briefly testified that it would have been improper for the police to tell the public works department which building it wanted.

Shabangu also owns the Transnet building, in Durban.

Cele failed to explain this coincidence when this was raised by board member Terry Motau SC on Monday.

While concerns around irregularities in the procurement of the Transet lease had been raised in an e-mail by public works department (DPW) official Irene Nel, Cele failed to investigate this, it emerged on Monday.

He also failed to inform senior DPW officials that the process was compromised.

"I didn't raise it, unfortunately. Even the DPW director general didn't raise it too."

Cele acknowledged that this was strange.

The e-mail from Nel, which had apparently infuriated Cele, raised concern at the fact that the police had already identified the Transnet building as alternative accommodation - a job which belonged to the DPW.

Nel also questioned the location of certain units which were to be moved.

Last week, the hearing heard how Cele signed off documents without questioning them, "trusting" that his subordinates would have done the work.

He signed for a Durban building lease, knowing there was no money for the project in police coffers. Additional funding meant police had to re-prioritise projects.

SA Police Service chief financial officer Lieutenant General Stephan Schutte testified on Monday that under normal circumstances, funds had to be raised before committing to a transaction.

He said even re-prioritisation normally preceded the signing of a deal.

It was not clear what was re-prioritised at the time.

Cele said there had been a pressing need for police accommodation because the lease for the Servamus building in Durban, worth about R1 million a month, was about to expire.

At the time, what mattered was the availability of the building, rather than funding, he said.

The inquiry is trying to establish whether Cele acted corruptly, dishonestly or with an undeclared conflict of interest in relation the two police lease deals, his fitness to hold office and his capacity to efficiently execute his duties.

President Jacob Zuma appointed the inquiry in October 2011 after findings by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.

The hearing resumes on Tuesday.

- SAPA
Read more on:    police  |  roux shabangu  |  jacob zuma  |  bheki cele  |  thuli madonsela  |  hamilton hlela  |  police lease saga
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
18 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Fashion
 

6 life hacks you simply have to know

A few simple tricks can make your life so much easier!

 
 

For chic geeks...

Device lets disabled people talk through their nose
It’s THIS easy for someone to steal your ATM pin!
This is why you should install iOS 8
17 photo illusions that look so real

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

DBA (MSSQL)

Western Cape
CMS Recruitment

C#.Net Developer

Cape Town Northern Suburbs
Communicate Cape Town IT
R35 000 - R38 000 Per Month

Senior Ladies Wear Buyer

Western Cape
Peoplefinder Career Placements

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Your sense of duty is emphasized and you may put your heart and soul into helping, serving and being there for the community in a...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.