Mbaks to charge top cop

2017-10-29 05:49
Police Minister Fikile Mbalula addresses the media. (Deaan Vivier, Gallo Images, Beeld)

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula addresses the media. (Deaan Vivier, Gallo Images, Beeld)

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Lesetja Mothiba allegedly ordered that no action be taken against senior officers facing criminal charges and defiedMbalula’s order not to promote crime intelligence staff with criminal records.

Acting national police commissioner Lieutenant General Lesetja Mothiba is in hot water for allegedly shielding himself and his intelligence adviser from criminal investigations.

Mothiba allegedly unlawfully accessed a case docket in which he is cited as a suspect accused of defeating the ends of justice.

He was appointed four months ago, after his predecessor Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane was suspended following allegations of corruption.

The latest development comes in the week police released their annual crime statistics, which showed a 6.7% increase in the number of murders in the country, and a 6.4% increase in armed robberies between the 2016/17 and 2015/16 financial years.

A senior crime intelligence officer opened the case at the Brooklyn Police Station, Pretoria, in August.

The case relates to comments Mothiba allegedly made at a meeting of senior police officials. He allegedly said no action would be taken against crime intelligence officers facing criminal charges. At the same meeting, Mothiba allegedly gave an instruction that investigators and complainants should “drop charges against his generals”.

City Press has obtained a confidential memorandum in which the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) recommended Mothiba be disciplined. The document, dated October 20 and sent to Police Minister Fikile Mbalula, recommended that he charge Mothiba with misconduct.

“It has been established from affidavits by members who attended the meeting and the documentary evidence at hand, that there is a strong prima facie case of misconduct against Mothiba,” the memo

The Ipid complaint against Mothiba includes an allegation that he defied Mbalula’s instruction to stop promoting crime intelligence officers with criminal records and others who had not undergone security vetting.

The memo says Mothiba “incited his subordinates to defy lawful instructions by the minister of police”.

A police ministry insider said: “Mothiba insisted that the minister or Parliament’s police portfolio committee on police can’t tell him what to do regarding adherence to the ... National Strategic Intelligence Act, which deals with how confidential national security data is to be handled.”

Mothiba faces a fresh complaint of defeating the ends of justice after he allegedly sent a senior officer to the Brooklyn Police Station to fetch a criminal docket in which he is cited as a suspect, and kept it for a week.

He allegedly discussed the contents of the docket with his intelligence adviser, Colonel Smanga Simelane, potentially jeopardising the investigation.

City Press understands that Mothiba sent a letter to Mbalula asking him to fire a senior crime intelligence officer who opened the case against him.

Simelane, a former Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) member and close ally of Mothiba’s, has a string of pending criminal cases against him and a firearm-related conviction.

A crime intelligence source alleged: “Simelane has various criminal court cases ongoing, but Mothiba is shielding him and has recommended him for promotion to lieutenant general to lead

According to sources in Ipid and the police ministry, Simelane recently had an accident in a police vehicle, allegedly while driving under the influence, and was hiding the car at a repair shop.

“Ipid has taken statements from the garage owner but, months after the accident, Simelane is yet to file a report to the division about the car,” said a ministry insider.

“There is a case of assault pending against Simelane where he allegedly assaulted a government minister’s chief of staff during the MK Military Veterans’ Association conference,” said the insider.

Police spokesperson Major General Sally de Beer said: “Gossip relayed to the media via an unnamed or anonymous source will not elicit a response from the police. In addition, we have previously advised that matters being dealt with internally will not be discussed in the media space.”

Mbalula referred City Press to Ipid for comment. Ipid spokesperson Moses Dlamini said the matter was still under investigation.

Gareth Newham, Institute for Security Studies’ governance, crime and justice division head, said internal police leadership battles were having a negative impact on fighting crime.

“What government should be doing is to provide training to the police and fix the leadership crisis, instead of relying on statistics to measure what are not the real crime trends,” he said.

Read more on:    fikile mbalula  |  crime

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