Cele wanted Pretoria building - official

2012-03-05 22:27
Pretoria - Suspended police chief Bheki Cele told his deputy to meet public works officials to secure a building in Pretoria for leasing, an inquiry into his conduct heard on Monday.

"I initiated meetings on General Cele's approval," Lieutenant General Hamilton Hlela, a former police procurement head and deputy national police commissioner, said in Pretoria.

However, he acknowledged that Cele did not tell him what to say in those meetings.

Hlela, who resigned in August 2010, admitted to attending a meeting with public works officials in May that year to motivate a different strategy of procurement - a negotiated tender process.

This was not communicated to Cele, Hlela said under cross-examination by Cele's defence attorney Vincent Maleka SC.

Maleka pointed out that Hlela had failed to disclose this during a probe by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.

Her investigation into misconduct allegations against Cele was instrumental in President Jacob Zuma's appointment of a board of inquiry.

Maleka put it to Hlela that the police communications department needed to urgently move into the Middestad building in Pretoria for the World Cup. Hlela agreed with this statement.

Hlela was hesitant when asked why he had not told Madonsela that Cele had given him instructions to initiate meetings.

"Would you say that instruction would be an improper instruction to make, that you must go and procure a specific building?" asked Maleka.

Hlela said the market had to be tested, and agreed with Maleka that one could not just point a finger at a building.

Asked why he had not raised that fact with Cele, he said: "I did not because he wanted the building."

Maleka spent most of his time questioning Maleka on omissions from his written testimony submitted to the inquiry.

The hearing was adjourned until Tuesday when four more witnesses were expected to testify.

- SAPA
Read more on:    police  |  jacob zuma  |  bheki cele  |  thuli madonsela  |  police lease saga
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