Scopa instructs SITA to end 'corrupt' R900m deal

Cape Town – The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) instructed the SAPS and the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) to terminate multimillion-rand contracts with service provider and supplier Forensic Data Analysis.

This was decided at Wednesday's dramatic meeting between Scopa, the police, SITA and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) to discuss irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure at the SAPS.

The Forensic Data Analysis contracts awarded by SITA include the maintenance and technical support of the firearms permit systems and the supply of forensic equipment to the SAPS. An amount of R919.3m has been paid to the company since 2012.

In a statement released on Thursday Scopa chairperson Themba Godi said: "The position of the committee is that the contracts with FDA (Forensic Data Analysis) are of a corrupt nature and we want to have them cancelled."

"For the first time in this Parliament, the person who is alleged [to be connected to] irregular procurements came and sat throughout the meeting, Mr Keith Keating, without any hint of shame or embarrassment. We deplore and condemn that kind of stuff."

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. Keating is the director of Forensic Data Analysis.

The inquiry was led by DA MP Tim Brauteseth, who produced pictures of 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 their storied ground Old Trafford, also known as the "Theatre of Dreams". The pictures were taken in October 2011.

SEE: Police officers visited Manchester United's Old Trafford with supplier

General Khehla Sitole 'man for the job'

The committee also heard that IPID's attention was drawn to Forensic Data Analysis when the directorate started an investigation into the kickbacks Keating allegedly paid to former acting police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane. IPID said the investigation should reach a "climax" before Christmas.

ANC MP Vincent Smith said the committee was not asking the agency but telling it to halt its dealings with Forensic Data Analysis.

Scopa also plans to engage IPID further and appreciates the work it has done in investigating corruption in the SAPS, said Godi.

Godi also said Scopa condemned reports of intimidation and threats directed at the SITA leadership, which is probing allegations of corrupt contracts at the SAPS.

"We are encouraged that General Khehla Sitole, the new national commissioner, seems to be the right man for the job. He has the right attitude and we believe that with the necessary support we can finally root out the cabal within the SAPS that is responsible for corruption," said Godi.

The allegations heard by Scopa on Wednesday are believed to only be the tip of the iceberg.

After Wednesday's meeting, Keating declined News24's offer to comment on the matter.

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