Witness: Cele fumed over lease delays

2012-03-06 14:39
Pretoria - Suspended national police commissioner Bheki Cele was fuming over delays in the leasing of the Middestad building in Pretoria, an inquiry into his conduct heard on Tuesday.

"He was fuming when he called me. He said I didn't want to give him the two floors at the Middestad building," former deputy national police commissioner Lieutenant General Hamilton Hlela told the hearing in Pretoria.

Hlela said Cele had caused him severe mental discomfort, leading to his early retirement.

Before he stepped down in August 2010, Hlela was also head of the police's supply chain management division, mandated with making needs analyses for police accommodation.

"I told him that I was not the one handling the matter, but the department of public works. I wanted to serve in the police until I reached 60 years, but had to leave at 55."

Vincent Maleka, SC, for Cele, said Hlela was making the claims to suit his testimony after reading Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report on the contentious leases.

Four more witnesses were expected to testify on the second day.

The board of inquiry will seek to establish whether Cele acted corruptly or dishonestly, or with an undeclared conflict of interest in relation to two leases for police office space.

Its brief is also to examine his fitness to hold office and capacity to efficiently execute his duties.

Madonsela found Cele's action pertaining to leases for new police headquarters in Pretoria and Durban, valued at R1.6bn, was "improper and unlawful".

The finding would form part of evidence at the inquiry.

The board was appointed by President Jacob Zuma in October 2011.
Read more on:    hamilton hlela  |  bheki cele  |  police lease saga  |  corruption

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