Police seek man to solve Chief Justice Office break-in - Phahlane

2017-03-22 15:17
Acting National Police  Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

Acting National Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

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Progress has been made - office of the Chief Justice

2017-03-22 10:49

The SAPS held a media briefing on Wednesday and announced developments relating to the break-in that took place at the offices of the Chief Justice, during the early hours of Saturday the 17th March 2017. Watch. WATCH

Pretoria - Police are looking for a man they believe might have valuable information that could lead to the recovery of 15 computers that were stolen on Saturday from the Office of the Chief Justice in Midrand, Acting National Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane said on Wednesday.

"The South African Police Service is calling upon Mr Nkosinathi Msimango, who was in the vicinity of Mamelodi on the day of the arrests and who has valuable information and insight into the commission of this crime to approach the investigating officer and or report at the nearest police station to assist in this case," Phahlane said.

Earlier on Wednesday Phahlane announced that three men had been arrested in Mamelodi in connection with the break-in.

The men were expected to appear in the Mamelodi Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

"Further interviewing of those who were arrested revealed the identity of a person with critical information required to resolve the crime and the recovery of the stolen IT equipment," said Phahlane.

Phahlane said the man was not a suspect but police "believe that Msimango has valuable information that can assist in the recovery of the items that were stolen".

No 'inside job'

The police are at this stage unable to disclose information on the suspects who were found in possession of unlicensed firearms and fake identity documents.

A vehicle which was possibly used as a getaway car during the crime was also seized.

On whether the police believed that it was an inside job or not, Phahlane said the police did not have enough information to prove that theory.

"What we know is that a staff member is not among the three, they are just criminals... The investigation is still at a preliminary level... I am unable to say much about the information contained in the computers because I am not an employee of the Office of the Chief Justice.

"What we know for now is that 15 computers were stolen... And we are concerned that there was a security breach at the Office of the Chief Justice. We will sanction a security assessment."

CCTV footage is also the subject of the investigation but the police have not made the contents of the footage public.

"We do not know what the motive of the crime is at this stage... We are expecting more arrests, the team is hard at work," he said.

On which South African judges and judicial officials had been compromised by the crime, he said he did not know. Phahlane was also asked if he had any evidence to prove that the break-in was linked to court cases involving the South African Social Security Agency and Hawks boss Berning Ntlemeza.

The matters were before the court the day before the robbery took place.

"As to what was on the files, that remains the subject of an investigation. I do not know what files are in the computers... I do not have credible information that there is a link to the high-profile cases and that is why we are calling on everyone to refrain from making irresponsible statements and linking certain people with this crime," Phahlane said.

Judges' security

Responding to the arrests, Office of the Chief Justice spokesperson Nathi Mncube said the office was encouraged by the progress made and he would be updating Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.

He said the office hoped that the computers could be recovered.

"I cannot go into detail as to the type of computers or what the files contained, it is the subject of the investigation," Mncube said.

He said the office had informed the judge presidents that there was no cause for concern on their part, "but we are working with the police as to whether there is need to enhance security around the judges themselves. At the moment there is no indication that anyone is at risk."

He said the Midrand offices were still fairly new, "and we thought that there was sufficient security, if SAPS is of the view that we need to beef up the security then we will consider it".

Mncube said Msimango is not known to the Office of the Chief Justice.

Read more on:    khomotso phahlane  |  pretoria  |  crime

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