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Nathi Mthethwa denies 'looting' police spy fund

Staff Reporter

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa insists he has not used state funds to renovate his house, and hopes to "unmask those behind these ... accusations".

The Hawks are investigating claims that Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa used nearly R200 000 from a crime intelligence fund to make renovations to his Kwazulu-Natal home, the City Press reported on Sunday.

The newspaper also claimed that Mthethwa was trying to quash the investigation into himself and two other high ranking police officers accused of colluding with him.

The claims were made in a “top secret” police report given last month to acting police chief General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, according to City Press.

Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela was not immediately available to comment on the article’s claim of a Hawk’s investigation, while Mthethwa in a statement on Sunday strongly denied all the claims.

According to City Press, crime intelligence boss Lieutenant General Richard Mdluli and finance head Major General Solly Lazarus were both named in the report.

Mdluli had been suspected of looting crime intelligence resources by misusing state vehicles, safe houses, and a police travel agency. He was suspended and then reinstated. The minister was instrumental in having Mdluli reinstated, the paper said.

The report claims that the minister was also instrumental in reinstating Lazarus who was also suspended—going against the will of the acting police chief.

According to the alleged police report, Mthethwa had extensive “security renovations” made to his house, after Mdluli conducted a risk assessment in May 2010.

The payments were approved by Lazarus and were illegal as the secret fund was meant to only finance covert counter-crime operations, the newspaper said.

It further claimed that Hawks investigators found that the minister drove a luxury Mercedes-Benz SUV that was bought for him by crime intelligence from the secret fund. He allegedly drove the car between March 2010 and June 2011.

The minister denied all allegations in a statement released by his office on Sunday.

Spokesperson Zweli Mnisi said Mthethwa had on Sunday “telephonically requested the auditor general to investigate these allegations and will be formally writing to him urgently”.

“Minister Mthethwa wishes to reiterate that no state funds were used in renovating his private residence or those of his immediate relatives.

“He has also not seen or used the Mercedes Benz car that is falsely attributed to him. The only involvement of the police was conducting a security threat analysis around the house once it was completed.

“We hope this investigation will unmask those behind these continuous false accusations against the minister and their motives.”

Mthethwa also issued a response which was published in the same edition of the paper, denying the allegations levelled against him.—Sapa

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