Cele denies graft rumours

2011-04-07 12:46

National police chief General Bheki Cele denied rumours that he was the subject of a corruption investigation by the murder-accused crime intelligence boss, Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Mdluli, in a statement issued today.

“The South African Police Service has learnt that the media intends to publish a patently false allegation that the national commissioner, General Bheki Cele, is the subject of either an ongoing or a concluded corruption investigation by Richard Mdluli, the crime intelligence head who was arrested last week,” Cele’s spokesperson, Major-General Nonkululeko Mbatha, said in a statement.

“The SAPS (SA Police Service) would like to place it on record that General Cele is not, and has never been, the subject of any criminal investigation by the police or any state organ for that matter.”

Mdluli and three accomplices were arrested last week for allegedly killing the husband of an ex-lover of Mdluli in 1999.

Cele’s spokesperson said the SAPS had “no record or knowledge” of any file that Mdluli’s crime intelligence services ever opened against Cele.

“At this point, the SAPS would also like to record the fact that at around 7pm yesterday [Wednesday], 06 April 2011, General Cele was handed a copy of a recently declassified letter marked ‘Top Secret’ that Lieutenant-General Mdluli purportedly sent to him and several others on 11 November 2010 pleading for the investigation that saw him being arrested last week to be stopped on the basis that it amounted to nothing but victimisation and abuse of state resources,” she said.

Mbatha said she understood that copies of this letter were handed to several journalists earlier this week.

But she said that Cele saw the letter and its contents for the first time last night.

“There is no record of it being received by his office at any earlier date. The SAPS is not in a position to comment broadly on the contents of this letter save to record that at no stage was Lt-General Mdluli ever cleared of the allegations that saw him being arrested last week by an internal SAPS investigation as alleged in this letter.”

Mbatha also denied that there had ever been “any tension” between Cele and Mdluli after crime intelligence members visited the office of the Public Protector, after she found that Cele had acted unlawfully in signing a R500-million lease agreement for the police headquarters.

“General Cele and Lieutenant-General Mdluli were both not aware of this visit until news of it reached them at a meeting of police management that they were both attending. General Cele could never blame Lieutenant-General Mdluli for this debacle without having to accept such blame himself,” said Mbatha.

The “truth of the matter” was that Cele and Mdluli “enjoyed a good working relationship”.

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