Cele warned against evading questions

2012-03-08 14:44
Pretoria - Suspended police chief Bheki Cele was warned against evading questions on Thursday at an inquiry in Pretoria into his alleged misconduct.

Board of inquiry chairperson Judge Jake Moloi's warning came as Cele was being questioned on his role in the identifying of a building in Pretoria which was earmarked as the new police headquarters.

Questions, posed by evidence leader Viwe Notshe, some of which Cele answered by saying "I am not sure", also related to a memorandum handed to Cele by his former deputy and police procurement head Hamilton Hlela.

Cele said he read about the Middestad building in Pretoria for the first time on May 10, 2010. This was in the form of a memorandum about the police headquarters in Pretoria. Cele approved the funding for the Sanlam Middestad lease on that day.


Notshe said the structure of the memorandum appeared to suggest Cele had had a discussion about this particular building before. Cele said he had discussed accommodation broadly.

Cele said he did not authorise any inspections of the building by Hlela, and did not arrange particular meetings with certain individuals.

Hlela's earlier testimony was that Cele instructed him to initiate meetings.

Cele testified his trust in his former deputy diminished over time because of his questionable work ethic.

Cele, in a grey suit and blue, striped tie, said Hlela would okay a decision that had been rejected by his seniors. This and other incidents led to Cele stripping Hlela of some of his powers.

Cele was questioned on Wednesday about his testimony that he sometimes signed documents without reading them.

The hearing, prompted by Public Protector Thuli Mandonsela's negative findings on Cele's role in the police lease saga, continues.

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