EXCLUSIVE: Officer set to become Gauteng police intel boss to appear in court

2019-02-20 06:01
(File, iStock)

(File, iStock)

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The police officer tipped to become the head of Crime Intelligence in Gauteng is being charged with obstructing the ends of justice after unlawfully instructing that a murder suspect be released from custody after she had allegedly killed her husband.

Major General Auma Esther Korae, a cluster commander in Ekurhuleni, is due to appear in court in Palm Ridge on Friday to be charged.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) has confirmed that it has investigated the case after receiving a request from the Gauteng community safety MEC. IPID recommended to the director of public prosecutions in Gauteng that Major General Korae be prosecuted.

Bloody crime scene and a missing body

In February 2017, members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) were doing a routine patrol in Brackendowns in Alberton, east of Johannesburg. The officers noticed a suspicious looking vehicle and put on their siren. The occupants of the vehicle ran away. Inside the car, the cops found traces of blood.

The police officers visited the house the vehicle was registered to, looking for the owner, a Dan Seohatse. It's understood that at this address, they found his wife, Caroline, and her son washing traces of blood from the house. Dan could not be found.

The house became a crime scene and the wife was immediately a suspect in the murder of her husband.

It's alleged that a family member phoned Major General Korae and she arrived on the scene and intervened in the matter. According to statements given to IPID investigators, Major General Korae issued an instruction to her colleagues to release Caroline from custody and return her phones to her. She had been booked out of the cells and was returned to her home and had not even been charged at the time. Major General Korae disputes this account.

However, a warrant for Caroline's arrest was subsequently secured and she was charged with murder. Her husband's body has still not been found.

Community Safety MEC steps in

Dan's family wasn't happy with what they believed was a cover-up by the cops. So they turned to Gauteng community safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane to raise concerns about the alleged irregularities in the investigation.

On Thursday March 9, 2017, the MEC called a meeting with members of the provincial investigating unit and Brackendowns detectives. She wanted to establish whether Dan's family was justified in feeling that the investigation of the case had been "bungled".

At this meeting, the MEC made a commitment to the family that all efforts would be made to recover Dan's body and arrest those responsible for the crime.

Directly after meeting with the relatives, the MEC met with Korae, a Colonel Herbert and Colonel Mokgope. According to documents seen by News24, the trio failed to answer questions including:

  • Why the detained suspect (who was booked out of the cells) was released at the scene of the crime and not taken back to the police station to allow official processes to unfold;
  • Despite the fact that Col Mokgope stated in the meeting that it is actually Major General Korae who issued the instruction that the suspect be released at the scene, the major general disputes this point; and
  • Major General Korae claims that the suspect had not been charged at the time that she was booked out of the station at the crime scene. However, the record reflects otherwise. Why was the suspect not charged?

A week after this meeting, the head of department in the office of community safety in Gauteng, Yoliswa Makhasi, wrote to the provincial head of IPID asking that the matter be investigated. A similar letter was also sent to then-provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Deliwe de Lange, asking that an investigation be conducted and disciplinary action be instituted if necessary.

On May 8, 2018, the director of public prosecutions in Gauteng decided that Major General Korae be prosecuted for defeating or obstructing the course of justice.

IPID's Moses Dlamini has confirmed this.

"I can confirm that the IPID has investigated this matter after it was referred to it by the MEC for community safety in Gauteng. IPID made recommendations for prosecution which the DPP (director of public prosecutions) agreed with," said Dlamini.

Crime Intelligence head designate

Several senior sources within the police's Crime Intelligence structures have confirmed that Major General Korae has been designated to take over as the head of the department in Gauteng. She's being backed by the newly-appointed commissioner in the province and National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole, but it's believed that both the MEC and the minister of police are opposed to her appointment.

"There are rumours that have gone viral that she is the new CI (Crime Intelligence) head," says a Crime Intelligence officer in Johannesburg.

At a meeting of provincial police management in Kliptown earlier this week, Major General Korae was introduced as the head of Crime Intelligence in Gauteng, despite her imminent court appearance.

Sources also say that Korae is being protected by some of her colleagues and her internal disciplinary hearing has been "sabotaged by witnesses not being called".

Gauteng police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters says Korae's disciplinary hearing is still ongoing.

"While we do not comment in public on matters of employer-employee relations; and with due consideration for the current investigation by the IPID, I can confirm that the disciplinary file is still open and has in fact recently been brought to the attention of the newly appointed provincial commissioner of Gauteng, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela, for perusal and direction, as per subsequent engagement with our internal legal department," said Brigadier Peters.

The mother and son will appear in court on March 8.

Read more on:    saps  |  khehla sitole  |  sizakele nkosi-malobane  |  johannesburg  |  crime  |  police

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