Orgy of fraud

NRcele 004 Orgy of fraud

Dossier reveals officials knew about looting of secret fund.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, former national police commissioner Bheki Cele and senior police generals have known about the existence of evidence showing rampant fraud, corruption and the looting of the police’s crime intelligence secret fund for years – but they did nothing.

This is the explosive claim in a dossier that is before the labour court as part of a former police auditor’s battle with the SA Police Service.

City Press is in possession of the dossier of secret reports and official documents in which Colonel Johan Roos, the head of inspection and evaluation of the beleaguered crime intelligence unit, asks the court to force the police to promote him to brigadier and reinstate him as an auditor.

The documents detail how Roos, the former auditor of the secret fund, had since 2004 reported its alleged looting to his superiors in a desperate effort to stop it. Now he says in his court papers that he has instructed his lawyers to approach the Public Protector and “assist them in investigating the allegations”.

Roos’ claims in the court documents include: » A handful of agent friends of now suspended crime intelligence finance head Major-General Solly Lazarus were paid more than R8 million in claims and rewards; » A false claim was used to buy a R50 000 Rolex watch for divisional commissioner Raymond Lalla, now a top official at the SA Revenue Service, although the documents don’t suggest he was complicit in it; and » About 250 civilian crime intelligence posts were advertised but friends, girlfriends and relatives of top cops and other favoured police friends were appointed instead.

The shocking claims by Roos are the latest in a salvo against suspended crime intelligence head Lieutenant-General Richard Mdluli, Lazarus and other senior police officers.

In his dossier before the court, Roos reveals that his evidence was handed to then police commissioner Cele and four generals. He alleges that they did nothing. Instead, Roos claims he was investigated by police counterintelligence, his house was broken into, he was transferred and his career was destroyed.

He also claims that in 2009 Mthethwa ordered the directorate of special operations – the now disbanded Scorpions – to probe his findings, but the investigation was stopped and no reason was given. At the time, Roos had instituted a grievance against his police bosses, but he said the Scorpions told him Mthethwa wanted him to stop “as it will have a negative influence on the investigation”.

In one of his affidavits, Roos said:

“I did not hand in my grievance. The investigation then stopped and the minister didn’t keep up to his promise.” The labour court papers show that the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) also had the findings of Roos’ audit. A memo from senior Hawks investigator Andrew Leask, which

City Press has seen, confirmed that he and then SIU head Willie Hofmeyr had a meeting with Cele in February 2010 during which they handed over Roos’ dossier.

“That information supported allegations that major fraud and corruption has been perpetrated by certain individuals within the division crime intelligence,” Leask said.

In June, the labour court ruled against police objections and said the case had to go to trial.

A trial date is now awaited.

The police were ordered to pay Roos’ legal fees.

When City Press approached Roos this week, he said he was not allowed to speak to the media.

His lawyer Dirk Groenewald also would not comment.

Mthethwa’s spokesperson Zweli Mnisi said the minister dismissed any allegations of a cover-up and that the matter was before the court, and was therefore sub judice. Mnisi said the court still had to rule on the merits of the case.

The police’s communications head, Lieutenant-General Solomon Makgale, confirmed the labour dispute with Roos and said the litigation process was still at an “early stage”.

Makgale said the police could not respond as they would then discuss the merits and demerits of the case before the matter was heard in court.

Police audit officer Colonel Johan Roos’ corruption dossier includes details of apparent attempts to protect crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.

Mdluli’s chequered career 

Mdluli was first arrested in March 2011 for the murder of Oupa Ramogibe, who was shot dead in February 1999.

During the Hawks’ probe into the murder, investigators Colonel Kobus Roelofse and Lieutenant Colonel Piet Viljoen stumbled on fraud and corruption committed by crime intelligence members from the secret fund.

Their investigation was completely separate from that of secret fund auditor Colonel Johan Roos, who had by then been transferred to another unit to stop him from probing the misuse of the fund.

Roelofse and Viljoen were told by crime intelligence officers to speak to Roos about his audits.

Roos filed an affidavit to the Hawks investigators and their debriefing of him is contained in an information note from Viljoen, dated February 20 2012, and contained in the labour court bundle.

In this document, Viljoen said that “90%” of what Roos had told them had “so far been substantiated”.

It’s also emerged there was pressure on Viljoen and Roelofse to stop their fraud investigation.

Roelofse said in an affidavit last year he was told by Gauteng Hawks head Shadrack Sibiya that he (the general) had been “taken to task” by some police generals.

This was apparently for “allowing this investigation to continue beyond the scope of the murder investigation . . . he was accused of having no control over the investigative team,” said Roelofse.

Roelofse’s team was informed that Lazarus approached the chairperson of the joint standing committee on intelligence, Cecil Burgess, to convince him the investigation compromised national security.

In September 2011, Mdluli was charged with fraud and corruption in Pretoria’s commercial crimes court.

He was alleged to have employed his friends and family as intelligence operatives, and misused police funding to purchase luxury cars.

The charges were dropped in December 2011 and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has since refused to reinstate them.

In her disciplinary case, NPA prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach said she was suspended because she insisted on charging Mdluli for fraud and corruption.

The Mail & Guardian reported that Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa insisted that Mdluli should be reinstated, although he was later suspended again pending internal disciplinary procedures, which are yet to take place.

Read: How the story unfolded

From the Roos dossier:

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