There was no money, Cele tells inquiry

2012-03-08 21:52

Pretoria - No money was available when suspended national police commissioner Bheki Cele approved funding to lease a building for police office space in Durban, an inquiry into his conduct heard on Thursday.

"As a matter of fact, there were no funds available," Cele said in Pretoria when pressed by inquiry board chairperson Jake Moloi.

He was being questioned after confirming that he signed a memorandum on June 28 2010, approving funding for the lease of the Transnet building in Durban, while knowing that additional money would have to be found for the deal.

Moloi asked Cele to explain his understanding of an advisory issued by the police's chief financial officer (CFO).

In the note, read out by Moloi, the CFO wrote: "As the national police commissioner approved the lease already, funds will have to be made available with opportunity, meaning that something else will have to be foregone and re-prioritised."

Moloi said: "You knew there were no funds."

He suggested the CFO acted under pressure, as Cele had already signed for funding approval.

Cele replied: "But I also knew there could be re-prioritisation when needed."

Another member of the board of inquiry, Terry Motau SC, said: "You can't acquire something with something you don't have. You first have to look at the funds."

Cele repeated his reply about the possibilities of re-prioritisation. He said there had been no rush to sign the memorandum approving funds for the lease.

Cele said that after signing, he asked his former deputy and police procurement head Hamilton Hlela to see to it that the CFO perused the memorandum.

"I wasn't in a rush. By the time it came to me it should have been canvassed by sister divisions. By the time I signed, I had not spoken to him [the CFO].

"The CFO would have come to me if he needed me, but he did not. We didn't discuss it."

Cele could not say which areas were re-prioritised to pay the lease for the building, claiming he could not remember. He was asked about his failure to ensure that proper tender processes were followed.

"It was my hope they will be followed," Cele said under cross-examination by evidence leader advocate Viwe Notshe.

Cele said he did not know who had identified the Transnet building. He said he had left the checking "in the hands of capable people".

"I saw no reason in asking."

He said there was a pressing need for accommodation because the lease for the Servamus building, worth about R1m a month, was about to expire.

Asked how much the move to the Transnet building would have cost, Cele said he could not remember, but indicated "it would have cost several millions".

At the time, what mattered was the availability of the building, rather than funding, he said.

The hearing was postponed to Monday, when Cele will be re-examined.

  • kgomotso.radise - 2012-03-08 22:09

    Somebody said; “Bheki Cele is right men to fight crime but he lacks financial & general administration & I wonder how is he going to run the highest SAPS top position” This confirms every thing.

  • Piet - 2012-03-08 22:28

    Eish who needs money when you have 40 million tax payers

  • Joseph Thabana - 2012-03-08 22:41

    Eish, i think this matter must be looked @ ka di spectacles.

  • Rick - 2012-03-08 22:51

    When I was a kid my neighbour had a dog that chased every car that came down the road. One day, while I was sitting on the pavement a car came along and the neighbour's dog chased the car as usual. The driver stopped the car and got out. He said to the dog "Here is the car, now what are you going to do with it?". The dog looked everywhere but at the car. He got what he wanted all those years of his life but when he got it he did not know what to do with it. When you read this story just stop and think a Bheki.

  • Bob - 2012-03-08 23:37

    Give him another banana...he might remember more then!

      Thomas - 2012-03-09 02:10

      Isn't that a little racist Bob?

      MEC - 2012-03-09 08:00

      That is racist Bob! Sies man!

      Chuck - 2012-03-09 11:21

      Sies Bob

  • maisakam - 2012-03-09 09:42

    Bheki contradicts himself, he must just admit that he was trying to help himself like others and join Selebi in jail

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