Another spy boss with no security clearance

Major General Feroz Khan runs a car spare parts business on the side and was recently ‘irregularly’ promoted.

Yet another senior police crime intelligence official with access to the country’s secret and classified information has been caught working without top secret security clearance.

Documents obtained by City Press reveal that Major General Feroz Khan, head of operational intelligence support at crime intelligence, has been working since 1997 without the clearance he needs to do his job.

Crime intelligence officers need this to be allowed to view top secret documents containing sensitive information.

A senior crime intelligence agent told City Press that it was critical for Khan to have top secret security clearance because all surveillance and physical tracking units, locating electronic surveillance and the use of the “Grabber” – a mobile multichannel surveillance device that can intercept and record cellphone calls – are accountable to him.

Khan declined to comment yesterday, telling City Press he was not authorised to speak to the media.

Internal crime intelligence documents City Press has obtained reveal that, although Khan sought permission last year to run his spare parts business, his bosses had not given their approval.

Khan’s business, Spares Oasis, which he started in 2001, has several branches across Gauteng. The documents state that the business is worth R21m and that Khan derives a monthly salary of R250 000 from it.

Khan, the documents show, owns three properties worth more than R13m in Johannesburg’s affluent suburbs of Houghton and Bruma.

Khan, who co-owns the homes with his wife, allegedly leased the Bruma house to crime intelligence for use as a safe house. In 2012, a report compiled after an investigation by the Inspector General of Intelligence, into the abuse of the secret service account, allegedly by suspended crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli and others, found the unit had leased several safe houses across the country.

"Irregular and illegal"

The report states that “a property in the Bruma area utilised for the purposes of a covert crime intelligence office, is being rented from the wife of the commander [a colonel] of the unit.”

Crime intelligence officers who spoke to City Press alleged that the house referred to in the dossier belongs to Khan.

“Khan was a colonel then. But the contract has since been cancelled,” one officer said.

Earlier this year, Khan received a two-rank promotion – from colonel to major general – skipping the rank of brigadier.

In September, Business Day reported that Police Minister Fikile Mbalula wrote to acting crime intelligence head, Major General King Ngcobo, ordering him to, among other things, rescind Khan’s “irregular” promotion. However, Khan’s information on civil service payment system Persal, obtained by City Press this week, shows he is still a major general.

Another crime intelligence agent who spoke to City Press, said Khan’s promotion was “irregular and illegal”.

“I’ve been in the service for many years and I’ve never seen anyone skip a rank like that. It happens in exceptional circumstances. And the minister has to approve it. What exceptional work has Khan done to deserve such a promotion? Mbalula was correct to demand that it be rescinded,” the officer said.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said the matter was being dealt with internally.

“Should there be a need to communicate this in the public domain, such will be done accordingly,” he said.

Khan’s story is the latest in a series of reports which have exposed a number of senior crime intelligence officials working without top secret security clearance.

In June, City Press reported that then crime intelligence acting heads Major General Pat Mokushane and colleagues, brigadiers Leonora Phetlhe and VVV Mazwi, had obtained their security clearances fraudulently.

Last week, News24 reported that the unit heads of crime intelligence’s secret service account, covert intelligence collection, national security, narcotics, finance, covert collection, Interpol, internal audit, evaluation and monitoring, and the provincial heads of KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, North West and Northern Cape did not have top secret security clearance.

It was further reported last month that Parliament’s police portfolio committee was told that, of the police’s 31 lieutenants-general, 22 had top secret clearance, seven were in the process of obtaining it, and two had theirs denied.

Of the 213 majors-general, 140 had top-secret clearance, while five had been denied clearance and five had not applied for it, the committee was told.

Of the SAPS’s 690 brigadiers, 263 had top-secret clearance and nine had their applications denied.

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