You lied, Mr Minister

2012-04-14 17:49

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa lied to you.

City Press can today publish a detailed account of how state funds were used to upgrade Mthethwa’s private residence in KwaZulu-Natal.

This after Mthethwa publicly rubbished our reports last week that he had benefited from a crime intelligence “slush fund” to the tune of R200 000.

Mthethwa asserted last week: “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.”

But he lied.

In total, R195 581.45 of taxpayers’ money was spent on upgrading the security at Mthethwa’s private residence, as we reported last week.

Presented with the evidence, Mthethwa again didn’t own up. He tersely referred to his request to the Auditor-General to investigate the allegations against him “and would like to allow the process to be carried and concluded.

He therefore does not wish to comment further pending the investigation,” his spokesperson, Zweli Mnisi, said yesterday.

Mthethwa was instrumental in suspending a damaging Hawks investigation into the secret fund and lifting the suspension of controversial crime intelligence head Lieutenant General Richard Mdluli.

Mdluli is ultimately in charge of the fund and personally ordered that a security risk assessment be done at Mthethwa’s house in KwaMbonambi.

Less than four months after crime intelligence found that security measures at Mthethwa’s house were “below the required minimum standard”, money was paid from the secret services account, and cement, plaster sand and concrete blocks were purchased from local suppliers to build a huge security wall around his property.

City Press has in its possession:

» The risk assessment that was done at Mthethwa’s property by Brigadier T Tshika of the counterintelligence division on Mdluli’s instruction in June 2010;

» A secret services account claim form, dated September 14 2010, on which a Lieutenant Colonel DG Naidoo requested R70 738.60 “to carry out security upgrades at the minister’s official residence”. The claim was approved by then chief financial officer of crime intelligence Major General Solly Lazarus;

» A second secret services account claim form, dated December 13 2010, on which Naidoo requested R57 146.30 “to purchase building material and hardware . . . to carry out security upgrades at the minister’s official residence”, which was approved
by Lazarus;

» A third secret services account claim form, dated January 31 2011, on which Naidoo requested R67 696.55 “to purchase building materials and hardware . . . to carry out security upgrades at the residence of the minister of police”, approved by Lazarus.

Naidoo noted this was done “as per instruction of the Divisional Commissioner” – a reference to Mdluli; and

» Copies of invoices from a range of suppliers in and around KwaMbonambi, from which the building materials were sourced.
City Press also has lists of names of labourers and builders who were used to build the wall around Mthethwa’s house, and the wages they were paid. It shows that labourers earned R70 per day on the project and builders R200.

According to Tshika’s report to Mdluli, Mthethwa’s property is located along a gravel road “surrounded by overgrown bush, which is considered a security threat”.

A “high-wire mesh fence supported by wooden poles with barbed wire” surrounded the property, but the wire mesh and poles were identified as vulnerable.

“The wooden poles can be easily pulled off, or collapse. This can invite criminals as well as encourage potential criminals to gain access to this property, as it is well known that the premises are used by the minister of police,” Tshika wrote.

The property also didn’t have external alarm sensors, and an outside toilet was identified as a potential “hideout for any planned criminal activities that can be directed at the minister”.

Tshika recommended that the fencing be removed and replaced with a brick boundary wall –
which happened.

When City Press visited the property two weeks ago, a huge wall surrounded the property and the entrance was guarded by a big police armoured vehicle and police officers.

Tshika also recommended that a walk-in safe be installed for Mthethwa to store classified documents and that encryption software be installed on his laptop and cellphone.

The Auditor-General’s office confirmed having received Mthethwa’s request “and will be pursuing it, in line with similar requests, as part of our ongoing audit process”.

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