Ipid battles SAPS, Hawks

2017-01-08 06:01
Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza (Netwerk24)

Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza (Netwerk24)

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Polokwane - Tensions have ratcheted up even further between the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid), the SA Police Service (SAPS) and the Hawks after the seizure of three computers used by senior Limpopo police officers. The computers were confiscated during an investigation into an alleged provincial police-jobs-for-pals scandal.

The ongoing fight between the law enforcement agencies – which has seen claims of high treason, conspiracies, plots and counterclaims – moved to the Polokwane High Court a few days ago where Limpopo provincial commissioner, Major General Nneke Jimmy Ledwaba, applied for the return of the three computers that Ipid seized in December.

In their search-and-seizure warrant, Ipid applied to confiscate the computers of provincial human resources head Major General Hlaudi Morakaladi, who is a close associate of Hawks head Major General Mthandazo Ntlemeza, as well as two other senior police human resource officials.

The investigation followed two criminal complaints laid by police officers in the province’s Westenberg region, who alleged that job candidates’ interview scores were altered to benefit those close to senior police officers in November last year.

Senior official

According to Ipid’s founding affidavit, the case centres on the post of head of labour relations, a job with the rank of full colonel.

The post was advertised, several candidates were interviewed and a high-scoring candidate was recommended.

In his responding papers, Ledwaba said Ipid should return the computers because they are used in the police’s day-to-day operations. According to Ledwaba, Ipid’s warrant was unlawful as it was nonspecific.

The case was finalised after an out-of-court settlement and Ipid agreed to hand back the computers after they had finished downloading and copying the information on their hard drives.

However, three senior Ipid officials told City Press that the body was investigating whether a senior official changed the candidate’s scores on the computer and allocated the post to another candidate.

City Press has learnt that the alleged jobs-for-pals scandal came to light after one of the interview panel members refused to sign off on the altered scores and blew the whistle.

The panel member, whose name is known to City Press, allegedly told investigators that he was pressurised into signing off on the new appointment that was given to the second-highest-scoring candidate, who was allegedly favoured by the chairperson.

Ipid is also investigating corruption and further allegations that police jobs and promotions in the province were sold for amounts ranging from R10 000 to R40 000, depending on the seniority of the rank applied for.

“Some employed their family members and used the police as an employment agency,” said one Ipid investigator.

Shortly before the high court could hear the urgent court application, the SAPS and Ipid reached an out-of-court settlement.

Crimes against the state

In terms of the settlement, the police watchdog may download information from the computers and use IT experts to analyse a number of appointments that they believe could be irregular.

The investigation is now exacerbating the bitter relations between Ipid, the SAPS and the Hawks that have led to senior officers opening cases against one another.

Ipid head Robert McBride and his team are currently investigating charges of corruption and defeating the ends of justice against acting police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane, who is alleged to have bought a multimillion-rand house.

A large proportion of the purchase price was allegedly paid in cash.

Phahlane denies this and is yet to make a warning statement to Ipid, while the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is mulling over whether or not he should be prosecuted.

The docket is now with the director of public prosecutions for north Gauteng, Sibongile Mzinyathi.

Ipid is also investigating Ntlemeza for defeating the ends of justice in relation to threatening SMSes allegedly sent to Ipid investigators.

The directorate is also investigating senior Hawks members on charges of kidnapping, assault and intimidation in a case opened by SA Revenue Service (Sars) deputy director Vlok Symington.

City Press has also learnt that the NPA has decided to prosecute the Hawks officers involved in Symington’s case, including Ntlemeza’s right-hand man and head of the Hawks’ unit for crimes against the state, Brigadier Nyameka Xaba, who also investigated Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Warning statement

The NPA has also ordered that Ipid obtain statements from Symington and Sars commissioner Tom Moyane.

The Hawks, in turn, have also upped their fight against McBride. Two weeks ago they summoned him to make a warning statement relating to a case of defeating the ends of justice dating back to when he was the head of the Ekurhuleni Metro Police.

The police referred City Press’ enquiries to Ipid, which did not respond to requests for comment.

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Read more on:    saps  |  ipid  |  hawks  |  polokwane  |  crime  |  politics

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