‘No cloud over my head’: KZN top cop shrugs off Hawks probe

2012-02-09 00:00

CAPE TOWN — KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni yesterday sidestepped several questions from MPs about corruption in the province, before finally admitting that 20 police officers had been arrested in the past year for graft.

“Of the 20 a total of 18 have been dismissed from the police,” she told the National Assembly’s safety and security committee.

MPs heard that in Gauteng 625 police officers were arrested on charges of corruption in the past 14 months, while in the Western Cape the figure stood at 139.

In terms of corruption allegations against her, Ngobeni was spared any embarrassing questions by MPs.

Committee chairperson Sindy Chikunga told The Witness it had “not felt appropriate” to pose questions regarding the matter.

The Hawks in September last year confirmed they were investigating corruption claims against Ngobeni.

After reportedly questioning Ngobeni in her office, they advised her that she was a suspect in their probe into allegations that fraud suspect Thoshan Panday had paid for her husband’s birthday party last year.

Allegations about the party emerged when police began to probe a R60 million accommodation tender scam in which Panday and two police officers in supply chain management were named as suspects.

Democratic Alliance MP Dianne Kohler-Barnard said yesterday it was “fascinating” to see Ngobeni attending the committee meeting given the allegations against her.

Asked if she was prepared to comment on the cloud that was hanging over her head, Ngobeni told The Witness: “No, there’s no cloud over my head.”

Asked whether she was aware that there was an investigation into corruption claims against her, she said: “No, no. Contact head office. I don’t want to comment.”

Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Ngobeni also sidestepped pointed questions from MPs about this week’s damning Manase forensic report into allegations of maladministration and corruption in eThekwini.

She was part of a group of provincial police chiefs who appeared in Parliament to discuss crime statistics in their provinces.

“What a waste of time. She simply ignored the questions on the report,” Kohler-Barnard said after the meeting.

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