Police HQ: Minister ignored legal advice

2011-02-22 22:23

Pretoria - Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde ignored two senior counsel opinions when she revalidated the leasing agreement between her department and the Roux Property Fund for a multimillion-rand police building.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela revealed this at a news conference in Pretoria on Tuesday at which she also instructed the Cabinet to urgently interrogate Mahlangu-Nkabinde on her decision to reinstate the R500m contract after it was cancelled by Geoff Doidge, her predecessor.

Doidge was fired by President Jacob Zuma as part of his Cabinet reshuffle at the end of October last year.

Shortly after assuming office, Mahlangu-Nkabinde obtained a legal opinion from a senior advocate on the legality of the contract between public works and Roux Property Fund. This, after Doidge already obtained a senior counsel opinion, confirming the deal was null and void.

Madonsela also asked the office of the State attorney to look at the contract.

The State attorney said the lease was enforceable, but senior advocate Pat Ellis submitted his opinion to Mahlangu-Nkabinde on November 22, stating the lease agreement was unlawful.

On the same day Mahlangu-Nkabinde’s department advised Nedbank, the financier of Roux Property Fund, that the deal is continuing.

Madonsela said on Tuesday her office did not find any proof of criminal conduct, but would refer her report to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and the National Treasury to investigate further.

In a letter submitted by Gordhan to Madonsela after seeing her draft report on the matter, he wrote: “The National Treasury supports the further review of the lease agreement as a matter of urgency. This may include, if necessary, the initiation of criminal prosecution.

“Madonsela’s report also criticises the secretive culture of the police which led to officials merely approving the deal without asking questions.

“It was evident throughout the investigation that a number of the officials interviewed expressed their reservations with the process followed by the SAPS to procure the lease.

"However, they were reluctant to raise their concerns with their superiors due to the culture of the SAPS in terms of which instructions are followed and not questioned.

“Former deputy national police commissioner Hamilton Hlela amplified the point in his interview with Madonsela, stressing that “he was unwilling to question the decisions and instructions of the national commissioner (Cele)”.

  • johan - 2011-02-22 23:31

    "I know its wrong, but I don't want to get into trouble with the powers that be", what the hell is the matter with these guys, upholding the rule of law my ass, If they do anything to you (fired or demoted), you can sue, get a nice amount and retire. Thats a win win...

  • kilo39 - 2011-02-23 05:39

    There is no doubt in my mind that a number of parties in this saga stood to gain financially from the approval of this lease. Bring them I charge that the office of the Presidency be held accountable for what is going 'pear shaped' in this administration. Where is the control, where is the sense of duty to the people. Doing three wrongs for every 1 right is no way to govern this deserving country. Make sure you are registered to vote and use that power to demand change. God help us.

  • mrsesom - 2011-02-23 06:52

    The DA must look into Cele's bank account...

      AJ - 2011-02-23 07:23

      There are bagmen for the ANC political elite, guys holding onto the money for them. You wont find it in the actual bank account of Cele, Zuma et al. But the money is stored by someone probably in cash, as they steal so much they dont even worry about losing interest on it.

  • A THEIST - 2011-02-23 07:03

    He's a so called policeman ! what does he know about property !

  • mmdmm - 2011-02-23 07:09

    How much did Cele / Zuma etc. get from this deal????????

  • AJ - 2011-02-23 07:21

    Face it - they are desperate for Roux Shabangu to get this deal. Wonder why that is....

  • Alwyn - 2011-02-23 07:29

    They ignore everything that is not beneficial to them,The ANC is a perfect example.Its time for some of our so called leaders to spand 27 years at Robben Eiland ,They are demolishing everything Nelson Mandela worked and spend time in jail for

  • ludlowdj - 2011-02-23 07:31

    And the Majority of South Africans still believe the ANC is the party to vote for, go figure. Criminal syndicates are being controlled and are in most cases started and run by police officials and members of our "Democratic Government" the "Big Busts" you hear of ARE THE SMALL TIME OPERATORS WHO THINK THEY CAN OPERATE WITHOUT THE POLICE'S PROTECTION

  • Wow! - 2011-02-23 07:39

    This governments morally bankrupt policies, once again come through. Bloody thieves of the nation.

  • Monkey123 - 2011-02-23 07:39

    R500m for a police builiding!!! for the work they do, they should be opperating from a shack in pofadder. with second hand bicycles and toy guns. maybe crime would go down then.

  • burtfred - 2011-02-23 07:47

    Now watch Thuli Madonsela get removed from her post. If you mess with the ANC nomenklatura, you arse is toast.

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