/ 28 September 2021

R191m SAPS corruption case involving Phahlane delayed, again

Forensic investigator Paul O'Sullivan, who was the original complainant in the case, said he would call for a life sentence against Khomotso Phahlane Gallo
Former top cop Khomotso Phahlane. (Gallo)

There is still no end in sight to the R191-million alleged corruption case involving senior national police officers, including former top cop Khomotso Phahlane, three years after the saga began. 

Phahlane and former deputy national commissioner Bonang Mgwenya have now launched applications for unreasonable delays in the matter in terms of section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Act, which, ironically, has further delayed the case to November for oral submissions.

At the Johannesburg specialised commercial crimes court on Monday, Phahlane, Mgwenya and 11 of their co-accused, including alleged fraudulent company Instrumentation for Traffic Law Enforcement, appeared on more than 320 counts of ​​corruption, fraud, theft, money-laundering, assisting another to benefit from the proceeds of unlawful activities, and contravening the Public Finance Management Act. 

According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) charge sheet, Mgwenya allegedly received a number of gifts from Vimpie Manthata, the owner of Instrumentation, including payments towards her luxury BMW X5 vehicle.

This, the state claimed, was in return for the fraudulent awarding of a contract to fit 1 550 Gauteng police vehicles with accessories such as sirens, blue lights and radios.

Manthata, who is also an accused in the matter, had already allegedly received R65-million for the contract; another R22-million had been blocked by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate during the probe.

Manthata is accused of having supplied a fraudulent tax clearance certificate before receiving the contract, which allegedly did not go out to tender, despite treasury regulations stipulating that all contracts above R500 000 should do so. 

The saga dates back to November 2018, when former Gauteng police commissioner Deliwe de Lange; her former provincial deputy Nombhuruza Napo; former national supply-chain management head Ramahlapi Mokwena; and former procurement officer James Ramanjalum were arrested for what the state then said was corruption to the tune of R84-million.

The updated charge sheet, however, says the potential state loss was more than the originally stated amount.

“During the period 1 March 2016, and 31 March 2017, emergency warning equipment was procured by Gauteng SAPS [South African Police Service] and [national] supply-chain management without following the open tender or bid processes,” it says. 

“The award of the contract exposed the state to a potential loss of R191 145 267.”

The other accused cops are Thomas Dumas Marima and Maetapese Joseph Mulaiwa, while the arrested civilians are Judy Rose and Samantha Andrews.

Detailing reasons for the case’s delays, Sindisiwe Seboka, spokesperson for the NPA’s Investigating Directorate, which is prosecuting the matter, said on Monday: “In a letter sent to the prosecution, Mgwenya’s legal representatives said they were happy and could access all the folders stored in the hard drive. Furthermore, all the witness statements have been submitted to all the accused. Even with that done, the accused allege that it is still insufficient disclosure.”

All accused are out on bail.