Cele queried over office space

2012-03-08 19:20
Pretoria - Suspended police commissioner Bheki Cele was quizzed on Thursday over alterations made to the police's original needs analysis for office space.

Retired judge Jake Moloi, chairperson of the inquiry into allegations of misconduct against the police chief, questioned Cele why the police requisition, initially indicating 21 000m², was changed to 25 000m².

Cele replied: "We had a new policy in the police that our stations needed to be equipped with gyms. That is how the original need for the space was changed."

Moloi then asked: "Are you telling me those 4 000m² were added after adding luxuries like the gym?"

Cele said: "In the police service we do not see the issue of a gym for our members as a luxury. The extra space was added to accommodate the requirements of the police."

Cele denied earlier submissions by his former deputy and procurement head Hamilton Hlela, who claimed Cele had identified the contentious Middestad building in Pretoria for new police headquarters.
Cele said he had not even seen the Middestad building.

‘Trusted deputies’

"I do not know who identified that building. I only know that some members of the police identified the building," said Cele.

Moloi replied: "General, I have to warn you. Do not be evasive and do not be argumentative in your responses. We want clear, undiluted responses from you."

On Wednesday, Cele told the inquiry he had trusted his deputies to make certain decisions, which he did not question, and would sign documents "as prepared".

"There would have to be a serious reason for me to go through the whole preparation of a DDG (deputy director general). It would be abnormal for every DG to re-read and start afresh on documents prepared by his DDG."

Moloi responded: "I am lost. Do you just sign whatever comes from the DDGs?"

The board of inquiry is seeking to establish whether Cele acted corruptly, dishonestly or with an undeclared conflict of interest in relation to two police leases, one in Pretoria, the other in Durban.

It also has to determine his fitness to hold office, and his capacity to efficiently execute his duties.
Read more on:    police  |  bheki cele  |  hamilton hlela  |  police lease saga

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