Evidence of corruption against SA’s acting police commissioner was ‘ignored’
Image by: SIMPHIWE NKWALI
Evidence of alleged corruption against South Africa’s acting police commissioner was ignored by his predecessor General Riah Phiyega and Police Minister Nathi Nhleko.
Police watchdog‚ the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid)‚ has confirmed that an investigation is underway into acting police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane who lives in a house estimated to be worth R8-million on a luxury estate north of Pretoria.
Forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan is the man who‚ with the help of a whistleblower‚ lifted the veil on Phahlane’s unexplained wealth and opened a docket against him at Ipid.
O’Sullivan painted a disturbing picture of a failure by authorities at the highest levels to act on evidence against Phahlane in an interview with CapeTalk (www.capetalk.co.za) radio on Thursday.
He said that allegations of corruption had been levelled against Phahlane – a career policeman whose wife is also a member of the force – in reports sent to Phiyega and Nhleko but claimed that nothing was done.
“The more telling thing is that we had a colonel from the police based in the Eastern Cape who felt so strongly that there was corruption going on … that he made a report to the chief of police‚ to General Phiyega. And when no action was taken he made a further report to the minister of police. And no action was taken so he decided … to become a whistleblower‚ and not knowing who to turn to‚ he came to me‚” said O’Sullivan.
The investigator – who has a reputation for tackling corruption and taking on government officials – spent three days debriefing the colonel‚ was handed a stack of documents and commenced his own investigation. “At the end of the investigation I opened a docket with Ipid.”
He found it difficult to digest how two police officers could afford to live in a mansion. Speaking about Phahlane’s wife‚ he said: “When she goes to have her nails done he takes her in a BMW i8 which costs R1.8-million at the last check‚ so you’re just left wondering what’s going on over here.”
O’Sullivan also rubbished claims by Phahlane that he did not know he was being probed by Ipid. His spokesman‚ Mashadi Selepe‚ said “nothing” had been mentioned about an investigation.
SAPS posted on its Twitter feed on Wednesday: “Today Lt Gen Phahlane was shocked to learn via media that Ipid is investigating case of defeating ends of justice against him.
“Lt Gen #Phahlane was at no stage approached‚ informed of investigation against him by any competent authority‚ incl Ipid.
“#Phahlane will fully cooperate with Ipid but saddened at manner in which it was leaked to media prior to him being approached.”
Phahlane is reportedly being probed after contacting witnesses after discovering that his property was under scrutiny by Ipid.
“For him to say that he wasn’t aware of the investigation is an absolute lie‚” O’Sullivan told CapeTalk. “I sent an email to him on the 15th of March this year telling him that the investigation by Ipid had not been carried out despite me sending several emails to them. I’ve seen a letter that was sent to him two days later‚ on the 17 of March – so he obviously made investigations at Ipid – and then he subsequently was given a copy of the docket by the … acting executive director at Ipid.”
He said the docket at Ipid had been “stashed away” and ignored until the watchdog’s suspended director‚ Robert McBride‚ returned to work.
O’Sullivan said that he had also written to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa‚ detailing the allegations against Phahlane.
– TMG Digital