Security boss 'tried to silence whistleblower'

2012-02-20 21:15
Cape Town - The acting state security director general came under fire for trying to “silence” a whistleblower in the department on Monday.

The Right2Know campaign said in a statement that it “strongly condemns the actions” of the acting director general, Dennis Dlomo.  

This follows a City Press article on Sunday about fraud in the state security agency’s medical scheme.

The whistleblower, Roberta Nation, claims that the State Security Agency (SSA) tried to cover up her allegations of fraud. Nation was in charge of the fraud unit of the SSA’s medical scheme.

Nation reportedly launched a grievance procedure following her complaints to superiors about rampant fraud at the scheme, known as OpMed.

After numerous attempts to deal with her grievance within the SSA came to nought, she opted for lawyers outside the agency to take up her case.

“She has taken the step of going to the press as a last resort, after the agency failed to do anything substantive about her claims,” the R2K said.

The SSA, however, told City Press it wasn’t a whistleblowing matter but rather a “labour relations issue” that simply needed to be handled within the agency.

“All members of the civilian intelligence community are governed by the Intelligence Services Act... For internal proceedings, people have lawyers of their choice from within the civilian intelligence community, including the office of the inspector general of intelligence.

“No one in internal processes gets representations outside.

“It is just contrary to the idea of internal proceedings. This is because access to premises and classified information is only allowed to those who possess valid security clearances.

“Lawyers of your choice that are outside would not have security clearances. They would be incompetent to represent anyone without such access.

“The prohibition is international best practice.”

The activist group said that the incident was symptomatic of the need for “radical revisions” in the secrecy bill that would include protecting whistleblowers. The group said the matter was of particular urgency in the state security cluster because it lacks accountability to the public.

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