State capture inquiry: Safe houses were abused by Crime Intelligence officials and suppliers

2019-10-01 17:05
State capture inquiry (Felix Dlangamandla, Gallo Images)

State capture inquiry (Felix Dlangamandla, Gallo Images)

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Safe houses intended for Crime Intelligence operations were abused by officials for personal reasons, the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture heard on Tuesday.

The whistleblower into the alleged looting of the secret service account within the unit, Colonel Dhanajaya Naidoo, detailed how he, as well as officials such as former head of intelligence Richard Mdluli, former chief financial officer General Solly Lazarus, other officials and suppliers, allegedly abused the safe houses for personal gain.

This comes as the commission shines a light on alleged state capture within the unit.

ALSO READ: Richard Mdluli allegedly looted Crime Intelligence secret service account, state capture inquiry hears

In one instance, Mdluli allegedly wanted the unit to rent his personal property in the Western Cape to be used as a safe house.

"The lease was for three years from February 1, 2012, to January 31, 2013. The rent would be R8 500 plus VAT with a 10% annual increase.

"It was in an estate, two-bedroom apartment, open plan kitchen and living area, the bulk of the rental was received by Mdluli amounting to R7 000, while R1 500 went to levies," Naidoo said.

Furniture purchased for safe houses

In addition, the secret service account, which is funded by taxpayers' money, paid for the furniture in the apartment, according to Naidoo.

The unit also allegedly rented a property belonging to Lazarus and used it as a safe house. Both properties were furnished to the tune of R60 000.

"I purchased furniture for the safe houses from a service provider in Benoni. In Mdluli's home, I purchased two beds, a lounge set, TV, and small appliances for the kitchen," Naidoo explained.

In another instance, the unit rented a home in Clearwater Estate, located in Boksburg, Gauteng. The home, however, was only occupied by Mdluli, according to Naidoo.

KwaZulu-Natal businessman Timmy Marimuthu, who had links to Lazarus, allegedly rented several of his homes to the unit. Naidoo was of the view that some of these properties were not fit for habitation.

"Various properties were rented from Marimuthu, which cost about R200 000 to R250 000. This was relayed to me by [agent] FM08 who was in charge of these premises.

Safe house used as holiday spot

"Both properties were in Umhlanga Rocks, Durban, close to Marimuthu's home. I felt it was unsuitable for occupation as one of the homes were generally unkept and the other was in a better condition but it was not ready; toilets were not working, etc.," he explained.

Naidoo also referred to a beach home in KwaZulu-Natal that was used as a holiday spot for officials, as well as suppliers such as the owners of New World Motors and Atlantis Motors.

"It is secluded, you can only get there with a 4x4 vehicle. Lazarus, myself and other confidants visited these premises, we would go there for holidays, school holidays, Christmas. Hence, state vehicles were used on these trips.

"I don't know what this house was officially supposed to be used for. The house had a manager, three others living on the property and it belonged to the state, but was being used by Crime Intelligence," he added.

Naidoo, who is currently in witness protection, testified in-camera at a secret location.

The inquiry continues.

Read more on:    raymond zondo  |  johannesburg  |  state capture inquiry  |  state capture  |  corruption

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