Confusion over McBride's R2m legal fees

2016-10-21 16:02
Robert McBride (Jenni Evans, News24)

Robert McBride (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town - Parliament’s police committee on Friday called for confusion over a R2m debt incurred for Ipid head Robert McBride’s legal fees, to be resolved.

The Civilian Secretariat for Police spent this money by contracting legal services on behalf of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).

Democratic Alliance MP Zakhele Mbhele said the problem was that the money had already been spent.

“The secretariat is saying ‘We paid for you’. Ipid is saying ‘We didn’t ask for it’.”

African National Congress MP Leonard Ramatlakane said the transaction was a clear violation of the Public Finance Management Act. The act did not make provision for inter-departmental loans, he said.

“It is a loan. This is a clear violation. First by the department that signed the cheque,” he said.

Disciplinary action

READ: Nhleko's statements on McBride saga 'unwarranted' - Parliament

If Ipid did not want to repay the R2m, then the secretariat would have incurred fruitless expenditure because it was not its mandate to pay the legal fees, Ramatlakane argued.

McBride returned to his job on Wednesday, after having been suspended for 16 months. The Constitutional Court ruled on September 6 that Police Minister Nathi Nhleko did not have the legal power to suspend him.

It declared the suspension invalid and set it aside. It however suspended the declaration of invalidity for 30 days for Parliament to decide if it wanted to take disciplinary action against McBride.

The police committee announced on Tuesday it would not do so.

Presenting its annual report to the committee last week Thursday, the secretariat said it was fixing the confusion with Ipid.

This was not the point, Ramatlakane said on Friday.

“The point is there has been a violation of PFMA in terms of the practice. That secretariat, with good hearts, embarked upon this on their own,” he said.

The committee would recommend that the secretariat resolve the expense with Ipid by adhering to the PFMA, it said.

Committee chairperson Francois Beukman said both entities would have to give an update in the next few weeks on what had been done to resolve the matter.

Read more on:    robert mcbride  |  judiciary

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