Hlela 'changed procurement rules'

2012-04-03 12:32

Bheki Cele inquiry adjourned

2012-04-03 08:32

Embattled police chief Bheki Cele breached procurement procedures by taking part in the "flawed leasing" of two buildings earmarked for police accommodation, the board of inquiry into allegations against him heard on Monday.WATCH

Pretoria - Former deputy police chief and head of procurement Hamilton Hlela altered the procurement process relating to acquisition of office space, the board of inquiry into suspended police commissioner Bheki Cele heard on Tuesday.

On the second day of closing arguments in the Tshwane council chambers, advocate Vincent Maleka, for Cele, said it was Hlela who had motivated for the negotiated procurement process.

"He had no instruction to change the rules. We have referred the board to General Hlela's meeting with the acting director general of the public works department," said Maleka.

"In that meeting, he motivated for a shortened procurement process, which is the negotiated process. He did not discuss that with General Cele."

Terms of reference

Maleka said his submission was critical as it touched on one of the board of inquiry's terms of reference - to establish whether Cele failed to prevent his subordinates' non-compliance with SA Police Service regulations.

"You can only fail to prevent something that you know. If you don't know anything there is hardly an obligation to prevent," said Maleka.

He said there was no evidence to support allegations that Cele had mismanaged funds as the accounting officer of the department.

"We hereby submit that the funds of Saps were properly managed under the stewardship of General Cele, and we avoid any unwarranted statements not based on evidence," said Maleka.

On Monday, Maleka contested Hlela's evidence alleging that Cele had identified a building in Pretoria owned by controversial property tycoon Roux Shabangu.

Maleka said the evidence-leading team had failed to provide evidence to support its claim that Cele had breached the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

He said evidence leader Mbuyiseli Madlanga had not told the inquiry which provisions of the PFMA Cele had contravened.

Conflict of interest

He countered earlier claims by the evidence-leading team that Cele acted with a conflict of interest because he had a relationship with Shabangu.

Madlanga had said that apart from misconduct, the "gross breach of the Public Finance Management Act alone warranted the board to recommend Cele's removal from office".

The board of inquiry, appointed by President Jacob Zuma and chaired by Judge Jake Moloi, is mandated to establish whether Cele acted corruptly, dishonestly, or with an undeclared conflict of interest in relation to two police lease deals signed with Shabangu, one for a building in Pretoria, another for a building in Durban.

It also has to determine his fitness to hold office, and his capacity to efficiently execute his duties.

Read more on:    police  |  hamilton hlela  |  bheki cele  |  government spending  |  police lease saga  |  corruption

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