NATIONAL police commissioner Khehla Sitole has denied being averse to being interviewed by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) in connection with its fraud probe against him and others.
Yesterday, Sitole celebrated a Pretoria High Court ruling that compelled a magistrate to hand over records she considered when issuing subpoenas against him and his deputies, Ntombenhle Vuma and Jacob Tsumane.
Ipid obtained the subpoenas in July last year, as it sought to interview the three over an irregular contract that cost the state R54 million.
The police obtained software to monitor social media sites during the Fees Must Fall protests. In addition to having been struck irregularly, the contract was also allegedly inflated by R47m.
Ipid head Robert McBride said about the contract in court papers: “Neither the normal nor the emergency tender processes were followed for the procurement, and no application was made for departures from the prescribed procedures.”
Sitole’s spokesperson, Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo, told The Star the decision to challenge the subpoenas did not mean the officials did not want to comply with Ipid.
“What the national commissioner said to Ipid is that if you can tell us what tips you are investigating and show us the docket, we will allow ourselves to be interviewed. They didn’t do that.
“They couldn’t do it because they don’t have a case. There is no proper investigation.
“You can’t just interview somebody for nothing.”
Naidoo said Ipid wanted to interview the trio without demonstrating that it had opened an investigation against them.
The High Court victory meant Sitole and the deputies would get a chance to understand how the magistrate granted Ipid the subpoenas.
“The national commissioner and the deputies are saying, ‘tell us on what record did you base your decision to issue subpoenas’. She failed to file those records,” Naidoo said.
But The Star has ascertained that the case Ipid is investigating was opened at the Brooklyn police station in Pretoria, earlier last year.
Ipid has shared its case number with Sitole in several communications.
In his affidavit, McBride said Ipid sought to interview the trio, and Bo Mbindwane, who was advisor to former Police Minister Fikile Mbalula, because they were present at a meeting that discussed the contract.
Ipid’s spokesperson, Moses Dlamini, said it was questionable that the officials decided to block the subpoenas.
“If it’s not true that they do not want to answer questions, why do they go to court to try to oppose the subpoenas?
“Why not come forward and just answer?,” Dlamini said.
By Bongan Nkosi - firstname.lastname@example.org
For more info see: http://www.iol.co.za/the-star