Top cops 'redeployed' during probe
Johannesburg - Senior police management in the Crime Intelligence Unit are being redeployed to create a stable environment while "internal processes" unfold, an official said on Friday.
The decision to redeploy officials from the unit was taken by the SA Police Service's management and came into effect on November 28, said spokesperson Nonkululeko Mbatha.
"[There are] internal processes and interventions that needed to be expedited objectively, hence the interim redeployment of members," said Mbatha.
According to a report on Thursday, the transfers and a suspension were apparently in connection with, among other things, the alleged abuse of the division’s R200m secret services account.
The account was reportedly meant to be used for the payment of informers and the running of safe houses and operations, said a KwaZulu-Natal-based newspaper.
Instead, intelligence officers are alleged to have used the fund to pay for expensive vehicles, overseas trips, expensive clothing, jewellery and property in South Africa and overseas, according to the report.
On Friday, Mbatha confirmed reports by the newspaper that a policeman in control of the coffers of the CIU was suspended and three other generals were redeployed to other departments within the police.
She said chief financial officer Major-General Solly Lazarus, who had denied to the newspaper knowing anything about the matter, was served with a suspension letter on Monday.
However, she could not provide more details except to say the three senior managers were moved temporarily.
"It is important to understand that the interim redeployment is to allow the processes to be conducted fairly within the crime intelligence environment and that any speculations and reports on allegations in this regard will not be entertained," she said.
The newspaper report said a breakthrough in the investigation into more than R30m missing from the unit’s secret services account led to the suspension and the redeployments.
It said two police officers have since been put in the Hawks’s witness protection programme, after turning State witness against the generals and spilling the beans on their alleged activities.
Mbatha cautioned that the SAPS would not be drawn into media debates on information received from unknown sources and allegations.
"The SAPS management remains confident that the processes currently underway will stabilise and allow the environment to function optimally in the interest of the service," she said.