Cele did not identify building - advocate

2012-04-02 22:33

Pretoria - Former deputy police chief and procurement head Hamilton Hlela identified the Sanlam Middestad building as potential police accommodation, along with property tycoon Roux Shabangu, the inquiry into Bheki Cele's conduct heard on Monday.

Submitting closing arguments in the Tshwane council chambers, advocate Vincent Maleka SC, representing suspended police commissioner Cele, contested Hlela's earlier evidence, which suggested Cele had identified Shabangu's building.

"General Cele did not identify the building. It is not our client who identified the building. There is evidence to show that he [Hlela] and Mr Shabangu identified the building, not our client," said Maleka.

He said the evidence-leading team had failed to provide evidence to support its claim suggesting Cele had breached the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

"It is one thing to suggest that General Cele is guilty of contraventions of the PFMA. It's another thing if you don't put it to him that you have contravened this or the other section of the act," said Maleka.

Evidence scrutinised

"We have listened to the long, long argument by my learned friend [evidence leader Mbuyiseli Madlanga]. They have not told the board what provisions of the PFMA has General Cele contravened. How are we supposed to respond to this general claim?" asked Maleka.

Maleka scrutinised Hlela's evidence, submitted during the cross-examination phase of the inquiry. He said Hlela made several assumptions which he acted on without consulting Cele.

He countered earlier claims by the evidence-leading team which suggested Cele acted with a conflicting interest because he had a relationship with Shabangu.

"On our part, we have advised our client about making these admissions that are not based on evidence. There is no evidence at all to show the conflict of interest," said Maleka.

"The claim that somewhere, somehow there must be a relationship [between Cele and Shabangu] is one we are saying this board will be entitled to freely reject with contempt, as we do.

Own impressions

"Regarding that incident in Boksburg [on 24 March 24 2010, where Hlela alleges Cele alluded to Shabangu] - why did he not get the name of the person who was going to call him?" asked Maleka.

He questioned why Hlela did not confirm with Cele if he had sent Shabangu, after getting a call from Shabangu relating to the procurement of Sanlam Middestad building in Pretoria for police office space.

"He formed his own impressions and does not test those impressions, even with the persons affected," said Maleka.

During cross-examination, Hlela told the board that Cele told him, in a hotel parking lot in Boksburg, that "someone" would call him about the procurement of office space.

Hlela testified that only Shabangu contacted him about a building, on the same day. Therefore, in his view there was no need to consult Cele about the developments.

Earlier, the evidence-leading team accused Cele of breaching procurement procedures by taking part in the "flawed leasing" of two buildings earmarked for police accommodation.

Active participant

Madlanga dwelled on the July 5 alteration of initial police space requirements in a meeting between Shabangu, Cele and other police officials.

"General Cele wanted that particular building [Sanlam Middestad] to be procured for the police. He identified the building and went ahead to become an active participant in the leasing," said Madlanga.

"If he seriously has this attitude with regards to supply chain management, with all the respect that is due to him, we submit that he is a menace when it comes to compliance with the Public Finance Management Act and treasury regulations."

Madlanga said there was an "unexplained relationship" between Cele and Shabangu, which made Cele "compliant to all things Shabangu said". The unexplained relationship was an undeclared conflict of interest, he submitted.

He said Cele had acted dishonestly by not telling Hlela the name of the person who was going to call him about the accommodation procurement.

Calculated move

"It was a calculated move by General Cele. He did not tell General Hlela that Mr Shabangu owns a building and he will call you to discuss procurement processes.

"He was a bit cagey about the identity of the person who would call. That is why he didn't say who was going to contact General Hlela.

Madlanga said apart from misconduct, the "gross breach of the Public Finance Management Act alone warrants the board to recommend Cele's removal from office".

The board of inquiry, appointed by President Jacob Zuma and chaired by Judge Jake Moloi, is 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.

It also has to determine his fitness to hold office, and his capacity to efficiently execute his duties.

  • Christelle - 2012-04-02 22:51

    But apparently he did identify the opportunity to make some backpocket money from the deal.

  • Chad - 2012-04-02 23:35

    Look at cele. come on.... he does not have the capacity to defraud anyone.... surely he had teammates. the oke wore white shoes and a white hat as top cop. a pigeon waiting for a pellet....... (gun for the.....)

  • FinalJustice - 2012-04-02 23:58

    Is the key issue really about identifying the bloody building or the deal as proposed here in the case, or am I just being dumb here? FFS people, if he signed the final confirmation document, that's where the buck stops! Costing us in tax payers money a f#*@ing arm and a leg in legal fees for this bunch of horse $HI¥ about who identified the building, I mean really ...

      FinalJustice - 2012-04-03 00:01

      Next thing you know he's gonna blame Eve for picking the wrong type of apples in the Garden of Eden if that makes any sense.

      Marion - 2012-04-03 09:11

      I recall seeing a wedding picture where his bride was smiling at him and instead of smiling at her he was eyeing her apples with a big grin on his face. :-)))

  • Robert - 2012-04-03 01:27

    I still say where did he meet Roux Shibango - Robert Gumedes wedding among other contriversial attendees. Has Robert anything to do woth it - i dont know but julius was there. Its just too fishy for me.

  • lhfick - 2012-04-03 03:04

    Now you know how demoralizing it must be for a member of the saps, they don`t get to pick their commissioners, but they must take orders from a persons that has not even undergone basic police training. The constables where better trained than Cele and Selebe the president is also to blame for this situation, because he is the one with the final say and he appoints them. I wonder which was worst the in justnesses of the past or those of the present? The time has come for bee and affirmative action to stop now, but it is to late the damage has been done and don`t tell me that I am talking cactus because here it has been proven once again! This country close to a collapse of major per portions.

      Marina - 2012-04-03 08:04

      @Ihflick. I would love to agree with you, but in my opinion they're all cut from the same cloth. Soort soek soort!

  • sandy.langenstrass - 2012-04-03 07:00

    Another rotten egg in the Anc basket...lets hope we will soon be singing..."Another one bites the dust"

  • Phumi - 2012-04-03 08:00

    Mr. Cele and Selebi have never been career cops before and their judgement will always fail them in this regard. Hence they both fail and it is not because they were corrupt. They both lacked experience and sound judgment needed to carry out their duties. That is why in that position of a commissioner we need better equiped leaders who have worked their way to the top like Mr. Richard Mdluli. But in this country our ever reactionary opposition parties with their press and courts will fight tooth and nail not to see that happen! Crime and people's safety is the last thing on their mind because they can afford to have personal securities!

      Marion - 2012-04-03 09:19

      This is the sort of individual you propose to lead the SAPS? "Mdluli’s suspension was lifted on Wednesday, nearly 11 months after murder charges were laid against him. Charges relating to fraud and corruption in the abuse of crime intelligence funds had also been levelled against Mdluli and finance head Major-General Solly Lazarus, but these were provisionally withdrawn." If even one of those charges stick then he is not suitable for the job. Stop blaming the opposition. Crime and people's safety is the first thing on their minds. If you want to talk about 'personal securities' just look at the ANC. Asseblief!

      eleanore.hill - 2012-04-03 10:41

      Pumi I disagree with you. Selebi and Cele chose policing and therefore its an career. What is the point of applying for a job and taking it then? If they weren't career cops why on earth where they in the position? Lack experience and sound judgment? Would you want a person like that to protect you if you are in danger? A police officer with lack of experience and judgment in your own words wielding a gun. If such a situation would arise and put your family in danger or someone you know, I am sure you would want the world to know, so that the person can be removed. Well, that is what the opposition and the press does. They alert people so that something has to be done. That is the only way we will be able to hold people accountable or at least scared enough to do their jobs correctly. Jobs in the police force done correctly would protect everyone.

  • Marina - 2012-04-03 08:01

    It doesn't matter who identified the building. Cele was/is the head. His department f*&ked up. He approved it. Therefore he must go. He is not fit to hold that position. Unfortunately he doesn't realise, as with most of his peers ,that top positions isn't all about top salaries and perks, it is about responsibility and accountability.

  • Marion - 2012-04-03 09:09

    Maybe not guilty of corruption, but certainly "he is a menace when it comes to compliance with the Public Finance Management Act and treasury regulations." Anyone in a position of power who signs documents willy-nilly doesn't deserve to be in a position of power.

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