D-day for Cele as board starts inquiry

The board appointed by President Jacob Zuma to evaluate allegations against suspended national police commissioner Bheki Cele commences its work on Monday.

Members of the public and the media were invited to the hearings which would be held at the City of Tshwane’s Munitoria head offices, said the board’s spokesperson Bongiwe Gambu.

Cele’s counsel, advocate Vincent Maleka, is scheduled to deliver an opening statement to the panel.

Zuma announced the board of inquiry in October, following negative findings of maladministration and unlawful conduct against the police chief.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found that Cele’s action pertaining to two leases for new police headquarters in Pretoria and Durban, valued at R1.6bn, was “improper and unlawful”.

In February the board invited members of the public to disclose any information that could help determine whether Cele was fit to hold office.

Gambu said the board would receive the information in the form of affidavits. She said the submissions could be sent to board by e-mail, post or presented to the board when the hearing starts in Pretoria on Monday.

The outspoken police chief was suspended with full salary, allowances, privileges and benefits pending the outcome of the probe.

The board was mandated to inquire into whether Cele:

  • had acted corruptly or dishonestly or with an undeclared conflict of interest in relation to the two leases;
  • contravened provisions of the Public Management Act and treasury regulations among others;
  • failed to prevent the procurement processes being conducted or facilitated by the manipulation of the police’s supply chain management or procurement processes;
  • failed to prevent irregular expenditure incurred in relation to both leases;
  • failed to prevent any financial losses or wasted expenditure to be incurred by the state;
  • and his overall conduct.

The previous national police commissioner, Jackie Selebi, was handed a 15-year jail sentence by the South Gauteng High Court in 2010 for corruption following a lengthy trial which began in 2008.

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