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Suspended KZN police commissioner loses bid to be reinstated

KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner Lieutenant General Mmamonnye Ngobeni, who has been suspended for almost two years over allegations that she had a “cosy relationship” with controversial Durban businessman Thoshan Panday, has lost her bid before the Supreme Court of Appeal to be reinstated.

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The commissioner, who was appointed to the post in 2009, will now remain on suspension and will have to present herself to a board of inquiry which will adjudicate whether or not she is guilty of gross misconduct and should be dismissed.

Ngobeni’s tenure has been clouded by allegations that she interfered in an investigation into Panday who was suspected of fraud in a multi-million rand SAPS tender procurement deal for police accommodation for the 2010 World Cup.

It emerged that Panday had paid for a birthday party for Ngobeni’s husband and fellow police officer Lucas Ngobeni. She denied this, alleging that while Panday may have done some of the party planning through one of his businesses, she had paid for it.

Fitness to hold office

Following her suspension in May 2016, Ngobeni brought a successful application in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court setting aside both the establishment of the board of inquiry and her suspension.

However, the office of the national police commissioner appealed this ruling in the Supreme Court of Appeal and, pending the outcome, she did not return to work.

Ngobeni had challenged the minister of police’s power to establish a board of inquiry unless the office first referred the matter to the provincial executive.

The Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that this was not necessary and that the minister was entitled to deal with issues of misconduct and fitness to hold office “and this does not require any involvement by the executive committee”. — News 24

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