Police, SITA halt court process against FDA over access to IT systems

2018-04-12 14:23
Forensic Data Analysts is run businessman Keith Keating. (File, Jan Gerber, News24)

Forensic Data Analysts is run businessman Keith Keating. (File, Jan Gerber, News24)

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The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria will not be hearing a case between the police and a supplier that switched off access to critical IT systems last week. 

The matter was scheduled to be heard in court 6E on Thursday morning. 

However, in a letter seen by News24, which was addressed to the court, counsel for the national commissioner of the police and the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) explained that the case won't be argued. 

"We confirm that the parties have now agreed that the matter will not proceed for argument on any aspect," the letter reads.

READ: Battle between police and IT supplier heads to court

"The respondents have consented thereof and that the issue of costs will stand over for later argument and determination in due course."

It said no order was required from the court. 

It is not yet clear why the parties have decided not to pursue the matter. 

Letter claims suppliers acting unlawfully

News24 reported last week that Forensic Data Analysts (FDA), a police supplier which has been accused of corruption, threatened to suspend the police's Property Control and Exhibit Management and Firearm Permit System (FPS), unless the police and the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) pay it. 

The company, run by businessman Keith Keating, claimed SITA had not paid it for five months for its services. 

The two systems – as well as a system called the VA-Amis proprietary solution – supplied by Keating's other company, Investigative Software Solutions (ISS) – were all switched off, leaving the police's capacity to handle forensic evidence, firearm controls and their ability to do in-depth investigation compromised. 

The South African Police Service (SAPS) responded publicly to FDA and said it was coming up with contingency solutions. 

Behind the scenes, in a letter seen by News24, attorneys for the SAPS and SITA wrote to FDA and ISS and said that in barring the police from accessing the three systems, the companies were acting unlawfully. 

The letter said the SAPS was granted a permanent, non-expiring licence to use the FPS and to make sufficient copies for backup purposes. The SAPS paid a once-off licence fee of R11.6m and this meant that, by stopping the police from using the system, the FDA was acting unlawfully, the letter stated.

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Read more on:    fda  |  saps  |  sita

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