Pretoria – Former crime intelligence officer Morris "Captain KGB" Tshabalala allegedly poisoned himself on Friday afternoon while detained at Kgosi Mampuru II prison in Pretoria.
A source close to the Tshabalala investigation told News24 that Tshabalala poisoned himself after hearing that his parole was revoked and that he was now a sentenced prisoner.
Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) spokesperson Moses Dlamini confirmed that he received reports that Tshabalala had poisoned himself and that the directorate had sent a team to the prison to investigate.
Department of Correctional Services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo confirmed that Tshabalala had to be treated by the prison's medical personnel after reporting that he was not feeling well.
"The inmate was stabilised and subsequently transferred to an outside facility for further medical examination," said Nxumalo.
Difficulty securing evidence
Last week, Tshabalala lodged a fresh bail application, based on new facts, in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Pretoria after his first bail application, in the same court, was dismissed in January.
His lawyer, Advocate Annelene Van den Heever, told the court that it was their intention to proceed with the bail application. However, due to the "contentious" nature of the case, they ran into difficulty securing evidence.
Van den Heever also asked the court to assist it by subpoenaing certain witnesses and prosecutor Chris Smith agreed to assist.
In January, Magistrate Nicola Setshoege dismissed Tshabalala's first bail application, finding that he had failed to prove that it would be in the interest of justice for the court to release him.
Setshoege said the fact that "Captain KGB" had failed to report to serve a prison sentence, after his appeal against an armed robbery conviction was dismissed in 1994, was proof of this.
While evading a prison sentence for more than 15 years, Tshabalala joined the South African Police Service and failed to disclose his previous conviction, the magistrate added.
Continued to receive salary
"There cannot be any guarantee that any bail condition can be effectively monitored."
Tshabalala claimed that he did not knowingly or intentionally evade his 10-year prison sentence and explained that his legal representatives at the time had told him his appeal had been successful.
But, according to IPID, Tshabalala never reported to serve his prison sentence and was on the run. He then joined the police, working for crime intelligence until he was rearrested in 2013.
According to the State, after Tshabalala was rearrested, he was dismissed from the police and spent two and a half years in prison while allegedly still receiving a salary from crime intelligence.
"Information received from sources is that he continued to receive a salary," Smith told the court during the first bail application.
After he was released, he was re-enlisted in the police service, before resigning to become an undercover agent for crime intelligence, according to IPID.
However, police have dismissed these claims by IPID. Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo previously told News24 that Tshabalala has not been on their system or payroll since he was dismissed in 2013.
Tshabalala has been charged with fraud, theft and corruption; which relates to the submission of alleged fraudulent invoices to the tune of R563 005, sourced for blinds and curtains for safe houses in Pretoria.
The invoices were submitted by Tshabalala and authorised by a major general, and the sum was paid out in cash.
IPID alleges that Tshabalala sourced a quote from Umwezo Wethu Promotions CC for R270 000, but requested R478 900 to be paid to him from the crime intelligence secret service account.
He allegedly pocketed R208 900, and then received an additional R50 000 as a kickback from Umwezo Wethu Promotions.
In another transaction, he allegedly requested R85 105 from crime intelligence, but only paid the same company R39 500, pocketing R45 605.
During Tshabalala's first bail application, it was also revealed that he is being investigated for a R50m budget allocated to him during the ANC's 2012 elective conference in Mangaung, that "was not properly accounted for".
According to an affidavit by IPID national head of investigations Matthews Sesoko, Tshabalala was appointed as the head of an operation named Rapid Deployment Intelligence. The operation was established to conduct intelligence work for the ANC's 53rd conference which was held in Mangaung.
His second bail application is supposed to be heard on March 14.