Mthethwa ‘knew state was paying’

2012-07-14 18:39

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa now says he knew the state was paying for security upgrades to his private residence, but assumed the police would follow due process.

That’s why he didn’t enquire exactly who was paying for a R200 000 security wall around his house.

The Auditor-General (AG) on Friday confirmed what City Press reported three months ago: that R200 000 from a controversial crime intelligence “slush fund” was used to pay for a security wall around Mthethwa’s private property in KwaMbonambi, KwaZulu-Natal.

The fund’s only purpose is to pay undercover agents and ­sponsor police intelligence ­operations.

When City Press confronted Mthethwa about the payment in April, he categorically denied using public money to upgrade his private residence.

“The minister wishes to put on record that neither his house in KwaZulu-Natal nor those of his immediate relatives were built, refurbished and paid for with any source of public funds or taxpayers’ coffers,” Mthethwa’s spokesperson said at the time.

City Press published invoices that showed the money was approved by then crime intelligence finance chief Solly Lazarus and that local ­labourers and suppliers were used to build the wall.

The AG found there was no evidence linking Mthethwa to the slush fund payment and said he did not know where the funding for the wall came from.

Asked why Mthethwa at the time categorically denied that state funds paid for the wall, his spokesperson, Zweli Mnisi, responded: “Because the allegations at the time said he ­inappropriately used state money to build a wall on his private residence, and hence he denied the allegations.”

And who did Mthethwa think was paying for the wall?

According to Mnisi, Mthethwa’s understanding was that in terms of the Ministerial Handbook and appropriate legislation, “some security measures to his private residence might be taken care of by the state and subsequent to the risk assessment the minister was excluded from the process that followed”.

Mthethwa “does not get involved in day-to-day operational matters of the SAPS. He assumed that the SAPS would follow due process.”

Mthethwa said he concurred with the AG that disciplinary action should be taken against crime intelligence officials who “inappropriately used funds”.

This must be done by national commissioner General Riah Phiyega, he said.

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