Cele will leave if Zuma asks him to

By Drum Digital
11 June 2012

Suspended police commissioner Bheki Cele will leave his position if President Jacob Zuma asks him to, his spokesman Vuyo Mkhize said on Monday.

However, if Zuma used the findings of the report of the board of inquiry chaired by Justice Jake Moloi, then Cele would challenge it in court, Mkhize said.

"Certain things during the course of the inquiry's work and the way the evidence leader conducted his work raised serious concerns," said Mkhize.

"He [Cele] thought the judge's [Moloi's] presence would be an antidote to such things," he said.

Mkhize said Cele was "fed up" because he felt Moloi did not make findings that were legally valid.

According to media reports the board of inquiry found that Cele lacked the capacity to execute his official duties efficiently and was not fit to hold office.

The board found his grave misconduct as national police commissioner and his apparent unlawful conduct further proved that he was unable to hold office.

It was reported that evidence also suggested there was a questionable relationship between Cele and property tycoon Roux Shabangu.

Mkhize said the allegation of corruption levelled against Cele during the inquiry by the evidence leader did not have witness statements to back it up.

"The evidence leader's intention was to malign him," he said.

"A judge has a duty to cut through that and make findings that are valid in the law."

Mkhize said this was the first sign that the inquiry had been turned into a "tool to conduct a smear campaign".

"The judge carried on where the evidence leader left off."

He said Cele was still waiting to hear whether he had been fired or not.

In May, a board of inquiry appointed by Zuma found Cele unfit to hold office and reportedly recommended he be fired. He has been on suspension since last year.

Moloi presented the inquiry's report to Zuma on May 20.

The inquiry followed a finding in July last year by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela that Cele's involvement in deals to acquire police office space was "improper, unlawful and amounted to maladministration".

Madonsela concluded that while Cele had not signed the final lease, he had initiated negotiations with Shabangu, and had seemed determined to secure the leases despite warnings against them.

The board of inquiry was mandated to establish whether Cele acted corruptly, dishonestly, or with an undeclared conflict of interest in relation to two police lease deals signed with Shabangu, one for a building in Pretoria, another for a building in Durban.

Mkhize said Zuma met with Cele in Durban on Friday.

Cele wrote to Zuma on May 27 to request a meeting and Zuma responded on June 6.

According to a newspaper report last week Zuma sent a letter to Cele informing him that he was fired. The letter was reportedly delivered to Cele's house in Durban on Tuesday.

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