Dodgy deals: More than 20 police officers linked to contracts with controversial supplier

Twenty-three police officers have been implicated in dodgy dealings with Forensic Data Analysts (FDA) and have been referred for disciplinary processes.

Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) led the charge in exposing the allegedly fraudulent contracts between FDA and the State Information Technology Agency (SITA), which procured services for the police from FDA.

On Wednesday evening Scopa met with a delegation from the South African Police Service (SAPS), which has conducted an investigation into the police's dealings with FDA.

READ: Corruption-linked police supplier's offices closing, but business still running

In a statement, Scopa chairperson Themba Godi said the committee had emphasised the importance of the police finding ways to deal with the root causes of systemic wrongdoing within the organisation. 

"The committee is of the view that the forensic investigations undertaken by SAPS, such as the investigations into the Forensic Data Analysts (FDA) contracts and other companies that are deeply embedded in SAPS, should address the deeper causes so that wrongdoing can be eliminated completely from the police," he said.

"It is also important that the employees implicated in wrongdoing in the FDA contracts are not only disciplined, but also that monies lost are recovered from them. The committee is encouraged that 23 SAPS employees implicated in the FDA contracts have been referred for disciplinary processes."

Dramatic Scopa meeting

He said Scopa would receive a status update on this process next week Wednesday.

Furthermore, Scopa had resolved to ask the Auditor General to look into the five FDA contracts currently under forensic investigation and also provide management letters on the contracts that were sent to the police. This is so that Scopa can verify whether these contracts were highlighted as irregular expenditure by the Auditor General, with no appropriate action taken by the police. 

READ: 'Corrupt' police supplier FDA denies links to the Boeremag

"Scopa is proud that the forensic report on the FDA is as a result of the committee's probing into these contracts," said Godi.

This matter has its genesis in a dramatic Scopa meeting on November 29 last year, where DA MP Tim Brauteseth opened a Pandora's box by producing pictures of FDA director Keith Keating with two police officers from the police's supply chain management department in personalised Manchester United jerseys in the football club's trophy room and outside its storied ground Old Trafford.

The pictures were taken in October 2011, months after the contract for the forensic equipment had been awarded to FDA.

DA MP Tim Brauteseth holding up a picture of two officers from the police's procurement department with a supplier to the police, Keith Keating, during Wednesday's meeting of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts. (File photo: Jan Gerber, News24)

Much to MPs' disgust, Keating sat behind them, directly in the line of sight of the police officers and SITA officials as MPs grilled them on the contract.

At that meeting, it emerged that SITA awarded a contract for police forensic equipment, mostly lights and Nikon cameras, worth more than R900m to FDA, and a contract to another Keating-linked company for the maintenance of this equipment without following procurement processes and without there being a reason for FDA being the sole provider.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate recommended that the police stop paying FDA, a view which was shared by Scopa.

On April 5, FDA shut down three police systems. Keating claimed SITA had not paid his company for five months for its services, a move that police commissioner Lieutenant General Khehla Sitole described as a threat to national security. The systems have since been turned back on.

Keating, a former police officer himself, has previously denied any wrongdoing. 

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