IPID, police face off in court over classified documents in corruption cases

2018-12-21 13:17
National police commissioner General Khehla Sitole. (Gallo)

National police commissioner General Khehla Sitole. (Gallo)

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National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole and the head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), Robert McBride, are facing off in court.

Sitole is refusing to declassify documents needed by IPID for three corruption cases, citing in court papers that the documents contain "intelligence information that might compromise national security and the identities of the operatives of the intelligence community".

Eyewitness News reported on Friday that Sitole and his co-applicants had brought the legal application to challenge an order instructing the police to hand over information requested by IPID.

The police commissioner and three others brought the application to the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on December 20, 2018.

In a counter application, McBride claims that the documents required by IPID do not constitute "intelligence information".

Unlawfully classified

McBride further claims that the documents have been unlawfully classified to cover up crimes.

"Security measures are not intended and should not be applied to cover up maladministration, corruption, criminal actions, etc, or to protect individuals/officials involved in such cases," McBride said.

McBride further insists in his answering affidavit that a classified document does not prohibit IPID investigators from receiving security clearance as required under the IPID Act.

In a letter dated March 28, 2018, from the office of the Inspector General of Intelligence to Police Minister Bheki Cele, he suggests that the declassification of documents in the related cases is justified if the release of information will not compromise national security.

"I am of the opinion that reclassification for the purposes of criminal investigation and prosecution is an injunction to the divisional commissioner and/or the national commissioner and that it should only be during the process of declassification that the divisional commissioner/national commissioner should consider measures that may be put in place to mitigate possible adverse impact on the whole or part of the information contained in the declassified document deemed to be of a sensitive nature," he wrote.

Read more on:    saps  |  ipid  |  khehla sitole  |  robert mcbride  |  pretoria  |  courts  |  police
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