Newspaper says it has proof of Hawks probe against Madonsela

2011-07-08 11:09

Independent newspapers today published a copy on a document referring to a criminal investigation against Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, after Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa denied any knowledge of a case against her.

The front page story, headlined “Here’s the proof, Minister”, said the document was proof of a high level inquiry against Madonsela while she prepared to release a report on the police’s rental contracts with businessman Roux Shabangu.

The document published in the newspaper appears to be a report by a colonel and a captain to their superior, a major general, on progress in their investigation against the embattled Madonsela.

The newspaper blanked out the case number as well as the names of the investigating officers – reportedly members of the Hawks – but the amount of R1.8 million is visible.

The Star newspaper reported on Wednesday that police were planning to arrest Madonsela in connection with R1.8 million worth of business transactions she allegedly handled while she was a commissioner of the South African Law Reform Commission.

Reacting to that report, Mthethwa said he was not aware of plans to arrest Madonsela and suggested “someone” with malicious intent was spearheading a campaign to discredit the police.

The Star said the two-page document it published today as proof of an inquiry was addressed to the head of commercial crime within the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) and dated April 1.

It is titled “Report regarding information relating to Waweth Resources CC”.

Waweth is a company Madonsela has admitted to owning that did contract work for the justice department.

The document states that Madonsela’s companies, Waweth Resources CC and Waweth Law and Policy Research Agency, supplied consulting services to the Justice Department between August 2004 and July 2009.

Madonsela has responded to the allegations, admitting she had done work selling books and designing a cover for the department of justice, but said this had not exceeded R46?000 and that the department had been aware of the three business transactions.

On Wednesday, she told reporters that the department had been notified of her company when she joined the SALRC as a full-time commissioner.

But the document claims that it “could not yet be verified whether advocate Madonsela declared her interest in the above-mentioned entities in terms of the Financial Disclosure Framework”.

Madonsela has said the timing of the report was questionable.

It came just as she was about to release her final report into the police’s controversial lease deals worth more than R1.6 billion for new headquarters in Pretoria and Durban.

In her preliminary report, which was leaked to the press, Madonsela found national police commissioner Bheki Cele guilty of unlawful conduct and maladministration for his role in the deals.

Yesterday, Mthethwa said he had phoned Cele after hearing on radio that Madonsela could be arrested as a result of the investigation against her.

“I verified with the national commissioner of police, and he was also unaware of any pending arrest,” The Star quoted Mthethwa as saying.

He reportedly urged the newspaper to come forward with information on the merits of its story.

“Some people are continuously peddling these negative campaigns which portray the public protector as a victim in the eyes of society, and the department as the proponent of this victimisation. This must stop, and stop now,” he added.

Cele, in his response to Madonsela’s finding, placed all blame for impropriety in the handling of the contracts on the department of public works.

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe yesterday said Madonsela had not broken any law and there had been no request from his department to investigate charges against her.

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