Full police response to Ipid raid on Phahlane’s home

The South African Police Service has released its response to a raid by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate on acting police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane’s R8-million home in a luxury Pretoria estate.

SAPS spokesperson Sally de Beer said it was “extremely regrettable” that news broke of the raid while Phahlane was meeting with five officials from Ipid.

“The acting national commissioner will continue to respect and fully cooperate with any authority competent to conduct investigations in accordance with the laws of our country,” de Beer said.

The full SAPS response
Pretoria, Thursday 19 January 2017: The Acting National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane, confirms that he met with IPID investigators at his office this morning, Thursday 19 January 2017.

The meeting was in connection with allegations under investigation by IPID relating to alleged corruption and defeating the ends of justice. The defeating the ends of justice case relates to allegations publicly made following an investigation and the interviewing of witnesses, led by Paul O’Sullivan accompanied by IPID investigators. The corruption allegations are in relation to the purchase of a sound system, allegedly by co-directors of a private company. Paul O’Sullivan is apparently the complainant in the alleged corruption case.

The Acting National Commissioner undertook to respond in writing to questions raised by the IPID investigators in respect of the allegations made. To this effect, IPID committed to providing the questions in writing.

The IPID investigators served a search warrant dated 29 December 2016 with an attachment of Sounds Great, Woodlands, invoice number 12996 for the total purchase price of R80 075.00 (dated 2012-04-19) on the Acting National Commissioner relating to the sound system in question. The search warrant was signed by Magistrate JR Tsatsi of Pretoria Magistrate’s Court.

The Acting National Commissioner will continue to respect and fully cooperate with any authority competent to conduct investigations in accordance with the laws of our country.

It is however extremely regrettable that while five IPID investigators were still busy with discussions in the Acting National Commissioner’s office, the news broke on various media platforms, including Eye Witness News and News24, that IPID is in the process of raiding the Acting National Commissioner’s house in relation to the building of his house. It is unfortunate that this investigation is being conducted through the media, characterised by the distortion of facts, disinformation and malice, including an insult on the integrity of the Acting National Commissioner and his family. The parading of the media at the Acting National Commissioner’s house, while he was being interviewed and served with the search warrant, and the level of disrespect and lack of courtesy by all involved has been noted by him with disgust and disappointment.

On conclusion of the interview, the Acting National Commissioner provided the IPID investigators with the proof of payment for the sound system to the total value of R80 075.00, the money having been transferred from his personal current account to Nedbank account number 1288095317 Sounds Great, Woodlands on 16 April 2012. Despite the Acting National Commissioner providing personal proof of payment for the sound system, a media circus was conducted at his place of residence including the spreading of propaganda through the electronic media, causing further trauma to family members. It is against this background that the entire investigation is considered an assault on the character and integrity of the Acting National Commissioner aimed at irreparably damaging his reputation and taking his focus away from the execution of his duties. The Acting National Commissioner has briefed his lawyers to take this matter forward.

The Acting National Commissioner will not satisfy his detractors by succumbing to any undue pressure mounted against him. The South African Police Service will remain focused on the execution of its policing mandate. South Africans are assured that the SAPS will contribute towards the creation of a safe and secure environment for all.

In a nutshell
Lieutenant-General Kgomotso Phahlane was appointed acting national police commissioner last year after President Jacob Zuma suspended Riah Phiyega pending a commission of inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

Private forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan, unhappy over Phahlane’s alleged unwillingness to investigate other corrupt cops, threatens to go after the country’s top cop.

He unearths allegations of kickbacks in exchange for police tenders involving Phahlane during his tenure as the police’s head of forensic services.

Details of the Ipid investigation include how Phahlane, a career cop, had managed to build an R8-million mansion in an exclusive Pretoria estate.

This results in him firing off a complaint to police watchdog Ipid in January last year. However, the case stalls amid the illegal suspension of Ipid boss Robert McBride until November when the Constitutional Court set aside the suspension. No sooner had McBride returned to office than the investigation into Phahlane picked up again.

The Mail & Guardian understands that the raid on his private home was carried out by Ipid in a bid to “catalogue” some of the content – this includes an R80 000 home theatre system and several flat screen TV sets. – Additional reporting Jessica Bezuidenhout

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Raeesa Pather
Raeesa Pather
Ra’eesa Pather is a Cape Town-based general news and features journalist.
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