Protector's probe into police lease released

2010-12-16 22:22
Johannesburg - The Public Protector has sent a draft report of a probe into the police's R500m lease for new headquarters to several interested parties.

Copies had been sent to the complainant Paul Hoffman, who is director of the SA Institute for Accountability, as well as National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele, the ministers of police and public works and the accounting officers of the police and public works department, the protector's spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said in a statement on Thursday.

"A copy will also be delivered to the minister of finance tomorrow (Friday) for comment on the investigation team's take on the issue of compliance with treasury regulations."

A report had not been sent to the Freedom Front Plus as the party had not yet submitted a written undertaking to keep the draft report's contents confidential.

Responding to a report in The Citizen newspaper that Cele would be allowed to "change" the draft, Segalwe said the parties would merely be allowed to "comment" on it.

"(They) are entitled to be given an opportunity to engage with the basis on which the Public Protector is considering such (potential) adverse findings."

The parties had until January 3 to comment. The report would be finalised and made public "shortly thereafter", Segalwe said, but could not provide a date.

Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde said earlier this month she had honoured the controversial R500m lease for a building to house the police's new headquarters in Pretoria.

"We then took advice from state attorneys and realised that we had to honour this legal agreement, or else we would be sued for the same amount and more in the courts," she was quoted as saying.

The Sunday Times revealed a few months ago that the deal had been signed without a public tender, prompting the Hawks and the Public Protector to investigate.

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