Hawks raid in Limpopo flouted rules

2019-06-04 07:47
Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha is seen during the NCOP findings on different government department debriefing meeting. (Sandile Ndlovu, Gallo Images, Sowetan, file)

Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha is seen during the NCOP findings on different government department debriefing meeting. (Sandile Ndlovu, Gallo Images, Sowetan, file)

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The raid on the Limpopo premier's office by the elite police crime investigating unit, the Hawks, last Friday was not authorised by its high command and that all confiscated documents have since been returned.

Hawks national spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi confirmed to News24 on Monday that certain issues were identified concerning the raid.

"Those are internal affairs that we are going to deal with. There are procedures that have to be followed before a raid can take place. There were some issues that we picked up on Friday that we need to attend to," Mulaudzi said.

However, he denied that documents seized during the raid have been returned.

"That there were challenges we picked up [concerning the raid] does not mean the investigation has stopped."

Last Friday, about 20 members of the Hawks arrived unannounced at the office of the premier to conduct a raid to collect evidence relating to large-scale corruption with regard to international trips taken by officials, including Premier Stan Mathabatha.

READ: Hawks raid Limpopo Premier's office

News24 was reliably told that the squad, which conducted the raid, had flouted internal basic procedures when an exercise of such magnitude involves a national key point like the office of the premier.

This included that the Hawks' overall commander has to be first informed who then has to inform the minister of police. 

It was understood that the squad, which is based in Gauteng, arrived in Limpopo on Thursday and obtained a search warrant from the Limpopo High Court. They then conducted raids on several businesses and private homes before visiting Mathabatha's office.

It is further understood that both the Hawks national and provincial top commanders were in the dark about the raid.

According to the premier's spokesperson, Kenny Mathivha, the Hawks raid was to collect evidence relating to international trips undertaken by officials in the office of the premier over the past few years.

It is believed that some officials in the supply chain management colluded with travel agencies in committing fraud by inflating ticket prices and hotel accommodation, among others.

"The Hawks' letter of intent is aimed at investigating international travels to check if there are any shenanigans," Mathivha said.

Asked about the latest development, he added: "We still maintain that the investigation is ongoing. The Hawks themselves are the ones who can clarify those other issues you are referring to."

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Read more on:    hawks  |  polokwane  |  corruption  |  crime
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