- The head of the police's Crime Intelligence Unit, Lieutenant General Peter Jacobs, faces suspension over serious misconduct charges.
- This relates to Covid-19 PPE procurement and allegedly using a slush fund meant for secret operations.
- Jacobs, seen as a new broom to sweep the unit clean, has not yet been served with his suspension letter.
A bizarre turn of events has seemingly left the police’s Crime Intelligence Unit rudderless, with top brass unable to serve Lieutenant General Peter Jacobs with a letter of suspension while he is on "sick leave".
Impeccable sources in law enforcement, both in police management and in the intelligence sphere, told News24 that a letter had been prepared – but had not been served – as Jacobs is in the ether.
The suspension of Jacobs is the latest instalment in a series of scandals to befall the Crime Intelligence Unit, which has seen a string of commanders find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
It is also not the first time that the Secret Services Account slush fund – meant to bankroll secret intelligence operations and pay informers – has been at the centre of claims of looting.
Documents obtained by News24, which set out charges to be faced by Jacobs, as well as a notice of an intention to suspend him, put a R1 million Covid-19 PPE procurement deal at the heart of the drive to oust him from his post.
In an official notice which sets out alleged misconduct, three contraventions of police policy have been laid at his feet.
"During March 2020, at or near Pretoria, you have allegedly committed misconduct… in that you wilfully presided over a procurement process which had resulted in the Secret Services Account being abused… in that you authorised to use of the fund in purchasing or acquiring the Covid-19 personal protective equipment.
"[This] while you [were] aware or ought to have been aware… that the 'slush fund' ought not to be used for such activities in terms of the relevant prescripts," the document reads.
Jacobs also stands accused of delegating the authority of chief financial officer (CFO) to a subordinate "who was not legally competent [to] perform the functions of CFO of the Crime Intelligence Division", and then authorising a procurement application for the safety equipment.
'Dark days of malfeasance'
The final accusation levelled at Jacobs is that he is guilty of misconduct for circulating an email which sought to, or had the potential to, cause divisions in the already fractured unit.
"This office (that of Jacobs) is aware of the factions within the division who are hell bent on seeing the secret services account associated with the dark days of malfeasance and corruption," the cop spy boss was alleged to have written.
The notice contemplating his suspension, dated 30 November, allowed him 48 hours to make representations. News24 understands that Jacobs has written to police management to counter the claims.
Lieutenant General Sindile Mfazi, the Deputy National Commissioner of Management Advisory Services, is now overseeing the division.
Mfazi and Jacobs, sources said, have a lengthy history of blowouts over control and operations of the unit.
Last month, the Sunday World reported that the unit had irregularly paid close to R1 million to procure PPE, and claimed that some of the products purchased using the slush fund were substandard.
The paper quoted letters purportedly sent to Jacobs by Inspector-General for Intelligence, Setlhomamaru Dintwe, in which he demanded that Jacobs cooperate with their probe into the alleged abuse of the fund.
The correspondence, which has not been seen by News24, allegedly purports that a Durban company was paid R430 000 on 24 March, R450 000 the next day and R75 912 on 31 March, bringing the total to R955 912.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo was emphatic that Jacobs had not been suspended. He confirmed that Mfazi was overseeing the operations of the Unit.
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