Police supplier attempts to have search warrant reversed

2018-01-24 19:46
Keith Keating and Khomotso Phahlane. (File)

Keith Keating and Khomotso Phahlane. (File)

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Johannesburg - The SAPS contractor, who has been accused of being in a corrupt relationship with former acting police commissioner Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane, has gone to court in an attempt to have a warrant authorising the search of his premises overturned. 

In response to the court application, Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) head Robert McBride said the items seized during the search provided them with "clearly incriminating evidence" against Phahlane and the applicants and they found boxes of state goods in the offices of Forensic Data Analysts (FDA).

Last year, it was revealed that IPID was investigating police supplier Keith Keating and his company FDA as part of their corruption investigation into Phahlane. FDA had been bought by listed company EOH in 2015 and their share price fell in the same week as the raids.

EOH then publicly stated it had agreed with "the former shareholders" of FDA, Grid Control Technologies and Investigative Software Solutions to "unwind the transaction", effective October 31.

In December, a joint operation between the Hawks and IPID saw seven properties connected to Keating and Phahlane raided. 

It was revealed last year that Keating’s company FDA had allegedly received R5bn in SAPS contracts since 2010. 

READ: R5bn in contracts allegedly paid to company accused of buying Phahlane cars

IPID believes Keating had paid for vehicles for Phahlane, his wife and sister, facilitated through car dealer Durand Snyman. The vehicles were allegedly purchased under a fake name, John Doe, and Keating allegedly paid for them by putting money into Snyman’s account. 

Keating had a contract for the supply and maintenance of Rofin lights, for the police - said to allegedly be worth R1bn. 

The properties searched included Phahlane’s home in Sable Hills, Keating’s FDA offices and his home. SAPS Local Criminal Record Centre equipment was found at Keating’s offices and a bakkie-load of documents was seized from Keating’s house and offices. 

Late in December, Keating issued a press release in which he said the allegations against him were part of an attempted hostile takeover of his business. 

READ: FDA's Keating responds to allegations of corrupt relationship with police

It has now emerged that he, Snyman, Motoxpress Menlyn and Christo de Bruin also went to court in an attempt to have the search warrants declared illegal and to have his documents and equipment returned. 

The application requested that all mirror copies of computers, laptops, cell phones and electronic storage devices be sealed and returned. 

Keith Keating attending meeting by the Standing Committee on Public Accounts last year. (Jan Gerber, News24)

In an affidavit, Keating said the State, in their application for the search warrant, did not justify the intrusions on their property and of their privacy.

He also said that professional valuators and a law firm, who were present at the searches in an advisory capacity, should not have been authorised to be there as they were not police officers.

'No instruction to by cars for Phahlane'

He denied allegations that he paid Snyman to buy Phahlane cars, saying that the money that had been paid over to Snyman was in fact for game, a tractor and a trailer that he had purchased from Snyman. 

Keating said Namibian payments to Snyman were in excess of R1.6m and that this was shares bought from Snyman for a farming operation in Namibia in excess of R17m.

He also said the figures for what he had paid Snyman and for what Snyman had allegedly paid for Phahlane’s cars, did not add up and were factually incorrect. 

"From the statement, it is quite clear that Colonel [Roelofse] already had access to certain bank statements but apparently decides to selectively only refer to certain deposits and payments in order to make out an argument to suit his allegation," Keating said.  

'Bid to shut down FDA'

Keating also defended the Rofin contract saying the tender award was open and that he felt Colonel Roelofse wanted to obtain a search warrant through whatever means to find something in an attempt to close FDA down. 

Keating said, according to his knowledge, neither Phahlane nor Potgieter had any control over the procurement process. 

McBride opposed the application, once again stating that he was firm in his position that the corruption case against Phahlane was mounting. He said that Bowman Gilfillian was appointed by the Treasury with the approval of the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) to conduct an investigation into alleged irregularities in the awarding of tenders to service providers.

The investigation uncovered various instances of corrupt activities, in particular involving SAPS, SITA and FDA.

'Involved in corrupt activities'

He said the five applicants were all suspected of being involved in corrupt activities involving Phahlane, his wife and a Colonel Potgieter. 

McBride said the allegations were very serious and involve large-scale corruption involving the highest levels of police.

Khomotso Phahlane. (Lindile Mbontsi, City Press)

"Items seized from Lieutenant General Phahlane, as well as the evidence seized from the applicants, include clearly incriminating evidence against, inter alia, Lieutenant General Phahlane and the applicants," the affidavit said.  

McBride said the allegations of fraud and corruption involved not only people whose positions exist exclusively to serve the public, but also involves "very substantial public funds". 

'Unfounded allegations'

He said the warrants were legal and the allegation that the search and seizure warrant was an attempt to close down Keating’s business was unfounded. 

McBride said the warrant made it clear that it was for an investigation into fraud, theft, corruption, racketeering and money laundering from 2014 to date, and it specifically states that three of the applicants allegedly supplied vehicles free of charge to police officials and/or inflated trade-in prices on private vehicles of the police officers involved in the SAPS procurement process. 

McBride also stated that, during the search in the basement of one of FDA’s offices, they came across boxes filled with Rofin lights.

These boxes had web numbers which McBride said meant that SITA had already taken control of them and they should have been in the possession of the State. 

Staff could not explain why FDA had stock with web numbers on them, McBride said.

Read more on:    fda  |  saps  |  ipid  |  khomotso phahlane  |  robert mcbride  |  keith keating  |  crime  |  state capture  |  corruption

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