Corruption accused Beauty Phahlane still at her police post

2018-05-02 21:22
National police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khehla Sitole. (Frennie Shivambu/Gallo)

National police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khehla Sitole. (Frennie Shivambu/Gallo)

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Despite standing trial on corruption charges and a recommendation by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) that she be suspended, Brigadier Beauty Phahlane is still in her post at the South African Police Service (SAPS).

She is the wife of corruption co-accused and former acting police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane, who has since been suspended.

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) met with the police, the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) and IPID on Wednesday to discuss SITA's contract with police supplier Forensic Data Analysts (FDA).

READ: Phahlane, wife, car dealer appear in court for corruption

On April 5, FDA shut down three police systems. The company, run by former police officer Keith Keating, claimed SITA had not paid it for five months for its services.

The systems have since been turned back on, and the dispute is headed to court, with police commissioner Lieutenant General Khehla Sitole telling Scopa on Wednesday that he feels optimistic about the police's case.

SITA did not pay the FDA following a Scopa meeting which was held on November 29 where several problems with some of FDA's contracts for the police were found. The committee then asked SITA to cancel its contracts with FDA and stop paying the company.

SITA turned two of the police's systems back on on April 9.

In Wednesday's meeting, it emerged that Brigadier Phahlane had written a letter to Sitole asking for details about the switching on of the systems.

She works in the police's unit for information technology services, and her husband headed the unit for forensic services before he was appointed acting national commissioner. Both these units make use of FDA's products.

READ: Boeremag link to state IT company and dodgy police supplier

The case for which the Phahlanes stand trial is based on the allegation that Keating paid for their personal vehicles.

IFP MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa asked if Brigadier Phahlane was at work.

IPID executive director Robert McBride confirmed that she was indeed, despite IPID's recommendation that she be suspended.

"Why is Brigadier Phahlane still at work?" Hlengwa asked. "With all due respect to her, she is tainted.

"We are operating an Animal Farm-type of SAPS," he said.

Links to other high-ranking officers

In response Sitole said that by the time he was appointed as national commissioner, the police had already taken the route of conducting an investigation into her before a decision on a suspension was made.

"It is one of the matters given high priority," he said.

The brigadier is not the only high-ranking police officer tied to FDA.

DA MP Tim Brauteseth asked Sitole if he knew about Project Khulisa, which relates to the building of a house for technology management service head Lieutenant General Adeline Shezi, and that multiple payments for this house were made by a contractor for the police named Unisys.

The contractor involved is Intsika Distributors, which is linked to Unisys, a company owned by Jerenique Bayard.

Unisys has done contract work for FDA. It is also Unisys that paid for a trip for Bayard and Keating to visit football club Manchester United's stadium Old Trafford in October 2011 accompanied by two police officers from the police's supply chain department.

Sitole 'extremely concerned'

Brauteseth opened a can of worms when he whipped out enlarged pictures of Bayard, Keating and the police officers, whose surnames are Arendt and Masuku, in their personalised Manchester United jerseys at Old Trafford in the dramatic meeting in November last year.

On Wednesday, he again showed one of these enlarged photos to the committee.

Sitole said he was aware of IPID's investigation.

Brauteseth asked Sitole if he was concerned about the links between FDA, Unisys, SITA and the police.

Sitole said he was "extremely concerned". He said Brauteseth was speaking about the content of an investigation and the police "can't relate as much" until the investigation is completed.

Brauteseth also asked him if he would agree that these revelations confirmed the committee's concerns about FDA and SITA.

Empty threat

Sitole answered in the affirmative, saying they took a "dot-to-dot-connection approach".

"The committee was correct," he said.

Brauteseth said Keating had sent a letter to his party leader Mmusi Maimane to complain about his conduct.

"I think I'll frame it, it means I'm doing my job," he said.

He said the switching off of the systems seemed like a false threat and asked if it meant that "this wolf did not have many teeth".

Sitole, laughing, answered: "I did not count the teeth."

"No one can threaten SAPS while I'm commissioner."

Read more on:    saps  |  ipid  |  khehla sitole  |  corruption

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