Tag Archives: SA corruption

South Africa – body investigating police has more “dubious” financial information on top cop Phahlane

News24

2017-04-21 09:27

Khomotso Phahlane (File)

Khomotso Phahlane (File)

Johannesburg – The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) filed responding papers yesterday against acting police commissioner Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane revealing shocking new information on alleged “dubious transactions” in the purchasing of his house and vehicles.

Last month, Phahlane took IPID head Robert McBride, forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan, his assistant attorney Sarah Jane Trent and Magistrate JR Tsatsi to court.

He requested that a search and seizure warrant which was used to remove an R80 000 sound system from his house be set aside and that O’Sullivan and Trent be interdicted from taking part in the investigation against him.

Yesterday IPID investigator Mandlakayise Mahlangu responded, opposing Phahlane’s application.

“The investigation into the applicant has been independent and objective,” Mahlangu stated.

Mahlangu said the relief which Phahlane seeks is academic as he does not seek the return of the goods seized – the sound system. He also said that under the IPID Act, the directorate may appoint any fit and proper person as an investigator and Phahlane was not entitled to a blanket embargo being imposed against O’Sullivan.

Cash payments

The investigator described how the case came in, in February 2016 when O’Sullivan registered a case against Phahlane of alleged corruption, money laundering and/or racketeering. O’Sullivan alleged that Phahlane condoned tender rigging with a businessman who grossly oversupplied chemicals to the SAPS, causing a loss of R50m of public funds.

“Lives were put at risk and crime scene investigations were compromised by the use of out of date chemicals and wrong equipment being supplied,” O’Sullivan said.

Mahlangu said O’Sullivan and Trent were asked to help identify witnesses and this was why they first accompanied him to see the estate manager at the Sable Hills Waterfront Estate, where Phahlane lives.

One witness, the builder of the house, told them that the bulk of his payments were made in cash by either Phahlane or his protector Alwyn du Preez in plastic bags from the boot of Phahlane’s car. Phahlane had paid him R710 000 in cash he said.

The subcontractors were also allegedly paid in cash from the boot of a black BMW as follows:

– The builder received approximately seven cash payments of R14 000 each, an extra R20 000 in cash to build a wall and R11 000 in cash for the stairs, swimming pool and bathroom wall, which all amounted to R129 000;
– The plasterer was paid R170 000 in cash payments that occurred on a fortnightly basis;
– The electrician was also paid an amount of R10 000 on four or five occasions, amounting to approximately R50 000 cash;
– The plumber was also paid in cash in amounts that totalled R30 000;
– The tiler was paid between R5 000 and R10 000 seven or eight times in cash.

Mahlangu then said they made contact with a witness who told them there were two invoices for the buying of electronic equipment. The first invoice totalled R126 900 and was paid in cash, while the second invoice was R80 075 which had been paid by EFT.

The beneficiary listed was a company called Kriminalistik.

Equipment, including a 55-inch Toshiba flat screen TV, two or three Samsung flat screen TVs and one Jamo home theatre system were delivered to Phahlane’s house from the second purchase.

At this point Mahlangu said he, his family, McBride and O’Sullivan all received death threats through text messages which they linked to a member of the SAPS at OR Tambo International Airport. The sender referred to himself as a cousin of someone IPID was investigating, he said.

It was these threats and interference in the investigation that led to a charge of defeating the ends of justice and McBride requesting that then-police minister Nathi Nhleko should ask the president to place Phahlane on leave, pending the results of the investigation.

‘Contact with witnesses’

“There is a high probability of Phahlane using his office and his authority to undermine the investigation. This is also clear from the fact that he has made contact with three witnesses and two of them have since deposed to affidavits pertaining to the investigation and the interviews held with them,” Mahlangu said.

Phahlane also allegedly accessed a court file containing an application for the subpoena of certain witnesses and information pertaining to a list of intended witnesses, the affidavit said.

This is also likely to compromise the investigation as key witnesses could be intimidated, Mahlangu said.

Phahlane also established his own task team under the pretence of investigating an alleged security breach, the affidavit said. The task team is led by a General Mabula, who is currently being investigated for the possible charges of torture and murder.

This task team has questioned IPID witnesses, arrested O’Sullivan and Trent, sought to obtain all the information on Trent’s cellphone without a warrant and launched an investigation against the employment of the data analyst by IPID in the case.

The affidavit then went into further details of IPID’s case against Phahlane. It revealed allegations that:

Vehicles:

– Phahlane bought a Land Rover Discovery V6 in 2011 for R765 995, which he sold in 2014 to a car dealership in Pretoria for R650 000, but the trade-in value for the vehicle at that time was R557 500. The dealership paid R92 500 above the trade-in value. The car was then sold for R547 500, meaning the dealership made a loss of R106 632.
– A Mercedes Benz C250 Elegance Automatic was bought by Phahlane’s wife in 2012 for R482 500. The car was sold to the same dealership in January 2015. The sale of the vehicle was valued at R318 900, according to the dealership’s stock card. However, their bank statement for the period, with a reference to Phahlane, said a total amount of R549 999 was paid. This purchase price was R241 099 above the trade-in value.
– The proceeds of the sale for the Mercedes Benz were used to purchase a second Mercedes Benz, a new E250 CDI for R765 000, R350 000 of which Phahlane transferred to his wife’s account.
– In 2013, Phahlane purchased a 2013 Nissan Navara for R322 927 which was financed by Nedbank. This was sold to the same dealership for R495 000 in April 2015. The book value at the time was R308 000, a R187 000 difference.
– In April 2015, Phahlane bought a VW Amarok which the same dealership credited to another dealership for R362 963 and later R132 000.
“The effect of the sale of the Nissan Navara to the dealership led to Phahlane receiving an undue benefit of approximately R187 000,” Mahlangu said.
– In December 2015, a Toyota Hilux 4×4 single cab bakkie was purchased for R377 360.
– In February 2016, a VW Polo was registered in the name of Phahlane’s wife for R230 681 and was picked up by an employee of the same dealership.

This employee said that the Toyota Hilux and the Polo were given to Phahlane as a sponsorship, but Mahlangu said that the sponsorship wasn’t pointed out by Phahlane in his founding affidavit or in his official disclosures.

ALSO READ: DA calls for Phahlane suspension again

The investigation into the Sable Hills house allegedly revealed:

– Phahlane acquired the land in April 2010 for R850 000, with a cash deposit of R250 000, and he obtained a bond of R595 000.
– His bank statements show the proceeds from the sale of his last home totalled R513 994, which was paid into his account in September 2010. It is unknown where the R255 000 deposit came from, Mahlangu said.
– In 2010/11, Phahlane paid R157 000 into his bond account when he was only required to pay R47 000.
– In 2011/2012, he paid R143 000 into the bond account when he was only required to pay R36 000.
– During this period he built the house and the only visible payment into the bond account was R200 000.
– In 2013/2014, Phahlane’s bond repayments, pursuant to an increase in the bond amount was R128 000. He paid R369 000.
– In 2014/2015 he was required to pay R111 000, but paid R402 000.
– In 2015/2016, Phahlane was required to pay R73 000 and he paid R330 000.
– Between March and December 2016, Phahlane was required to make payments amounting to R51 000 and he paid R244 000.

These payments, Mahlangu said, need to be considered with all the cash payments he made to contractors.

“The aforementioned information reveals dubious transactions in Phahlane’s financial affairs. The investigation reveals that Phahlane and his wife were able to make additional payments of approximately R2m into their bond account in the last five years.”

Mahlangu said that Phahlane acquired a bond of R2.2m, but he allegedly never used this money towards the cost of building the house.

“He only accessed R1.1m between March and July 2012 after the house was almost finished and this was used for finishes and trimmings,” the investigator said.

Phahlane’s lawyer Piet du Plessis, on Radio 702 on Friday morning, denied all the allegations against his client.

South Africa – reactions to overnight cabinet reshuffle: SA in chaos

News24

LIVE: Zuma cabinet reshuffle – what now?

2017-03-31 06:41

President Jacob Zuma’s overnight cabinet reshuffle has plunged SA into chaos.

jacob zuma

LIVE NEWS FEEDJump to
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Last Updated at 08:44
09:41

New deputy finance minister Sfiso Buthelezi was linked to possible financial irregularities in former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s 2015 report on the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa).


09:38

Save SA and Zwelinzima Vavi-led new trade federation Saftu have called on South Africans to mobilise in Pretoria to “symbolically occupy the Treasury”. 


09:36

Democratic Alliance Leader, Mmusi Maimane, will brief the media on the way forward following the cabinet reshuffle.

He will brief the media on the Motion of No Confidence, which is being processed by the National Assembly and the mass action that the party will be taking.

The briefing will take place at OR Tambo International Arrivals Terminal at 10:30.


09:31

WATCH LIVE: News24 editor weighs in on unprecedented day of politics


09:27

President Jacob Zuma could no longer allow the prevailing political pendulum to swing away from securing a prosecution-free retirement, says political analyst Daniel Silke. 


09:24


09:18

Pravin Gordhan, who was sacked late on Thursday, was admired by many ordinary South Africans – an unusual achievement for any finance minister.

He held onto the purse strings for longer than many analysts expected after he was parachuted into the job in 2015 to calm markets when a little-known lawmaker lasted just four days in the post.

But Zuma’s desire to appoint a loyalist to the treasury ultimately cost Gordhan his portfolio, which he had also held from 2009 to 2014.


09:14

WATCH: How instability in government is greatly affecting SA’s economy


08:58

A new #ZumaMustFall petition has launched online. Over 5 000 people have signed already.


08:55

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe made a last ditch effort to try and persuade President Jacob Zuma not to fire Pravin Gordhan, but failed.

News24 understands that Ramaphosa and Mantashe again rejected the decision during a meeting with Zuma on Thursday night. This was the second time Ramaphosa and Mantashe objected to Zuma’s plans.


08:45

All your reshuffle questions answered

Who is Malusi Gigaba and what are his ties to the Guptas? Why wasn’t Brian Molefe appointed finance minister?


08:44


08:25


08:05 

Nxesi replaces Mbalula as sport minister

Thembelani “Thulas” Nxesi has been moved from Minister of Public Works to Minister of Sport and Recreation in a Cabinet reshuffle announced by President Jacob Zuma in the early hours of Friday morning.

Nxesi, who is better known for taking the heat in the Nkandla upgrades scandal, replaces Fikile Mbalula who has been moved to Minister of Police.

Also the SA Communist Party deputy chairperson, Nxesi previously served as deputy minister of rural development and land reform from November 2010 to October 2011.

South Africa – Popo Molefe slams Hawks over failure to probe Prasa cases

News24

Molefe slammed Hawks boss over Prasa probe 2017-03-08 18:51

Popo Molefe (File, Netwerk24)

Popo Molefe (File, Netwerk24)

Johannesburg – One of Popo Molefe’s last acts as Prasa chairperson was to send a scathing letter to Hawks boss Berning Ntlemeza over his unit’s alleged failure to probe suspect tenders worth billions of rand.

News24 has obtained a letter Molefe sent to Ntlemeza on February 13, in which the former Prasa chairperson says the Hawks “failed to comply with its constitutional and statutory obligations to investigate these matters [the allegedly crooked contracts] and to bring the investigations to finality”.

Transport Minister Dipuo Peters on Wednesday dissolved the board of the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa).

 

Following former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana’s axing in July 2015, the Prasa board laid criminal complaints relating to tenders worth more than R7bn awarded during his tenure.

The most significant of these were contracts worth R4bn awarded to local technology firm, Siyangena Technologies, and a R3.5bn tender for the acquisition of locomotives found to be unsuitable for South Africa’s rail network.

Pressure

In his letter to Ntlemeza, Molefe describes the contracts as involving “substantial amounts of public monies”.

The investigations “relate to tender irregularities and associated unlawful activity that has a detrimental effect on public transport delivery affecting South Africans nationally and concern the diversion of substantial amounts of public monies for personal gain and corruption”.

Molefe accuses the Hawks of having stalled the probes, despite having access to a multitude of information and evidence about alleged corruption and other transgressions sprouting from the tenders.

“In light of the nature of the matters, I am deeply concerned that South African citizens and the fiscus are prejudiced by the fact that the DPCI [Hawks] has done nothing tangible to respond effectively to these matters, despite Prasa’s ongoing co-operation and assistance,” Molefe wrote.

It appears the purpose of Molefe’s letter was to force the Hawks to provide Prasa with an update on the two probes.

Molefe wanted Ntlemeza “to advise [Prasa] within seven days” about “the number and identities of [the] investigating officers and DPCI officials… assigned to each matter” and “the identity of the person or persons under whose command the teams are working”.

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Time magazine puts South Africa in top ten global risks

BD Live

South Africa map with flag

South Africa has made it onto a new Time magazine list of the world’s top 10‚ but not in a good way.

It is a list sets of the planet’s biggest risks in 2017‚ and a “struggling South Africa” features at number 10.

Ian Bremmer‚ of political risk consultancy Eurasia Group‚ writes: “The deeply unpopular President Jacob Zuma‚ beset by corruption allegations‚ is afraid to pass power to someone he doesn’t trust.

“The resulting infighting over succession stalls any momentum toward crucial economic reform in the country and limits South Africa’s ability to offer leadership needed to stabilise conflicts inside neighbouring countries.”

Top of Time’s list is the unpredictability thrust on the world by this month’s inauguration of Donald Trump as US president.

Bremmer: “The world’s sole superpower was once the international trump card‚ imposing order to force compromise and head off conflict,” says Bremmer. “Now it’s a wildcard‚ because instead of creating policies designed to bolster global stability‚ President Trump will use US power overwhelmingly to advance US interests‚ with little concern for the broader impact.”

The second greatest risk is China’s possible overreaction to Trump provocations. “The sheer number of places where US-China tension might play out — North Korea‚ Taiwan‚ Hong Kong‚ the East and South China Seas — make 2017 a dangerous year for China‚ and all who depend on it for growth and stability.”

Next is the risk of a power vacuum in Europe. “Strong leadership from Angela Merkel has proven indispensable for Europe’s ability to manage crisis in recent years‚” says Bremmer.

“Europe will face more challenges in 2017 — from France’s elections‚ Greece’s finances‚ Brexit negotiations‚ and delicate relations with both Russia and Turkey. Unfortunately‚ though Merkel is likely to win re-election as Germany’s chancellor in 2017‚ she’ll emerge as a weakened figure. This will leave Europe with no strong leadership at all‚ at a time when strong leaders are badly needed.”

The rest of the risk list is made up of a pause in economic progress‚ technology disrupting the Middle East‚ politics interfering with central banks‚ the White House vs Silicon Valley‚ Turkey’s ongoing crackdown and North Korea rattling its sabre.

South Africa – police probing Mahlobo links to rhino poacher

Al Jazeera

Mahlobo this week denied all accusations of wrongdoing [AP]

South African police have launched an investigation into alleged links between the country’s security minister and a Chinese rhino horn smuggler, according to the government.

The probe announced on Thursday was prompted by claims made by Guan Jiang Guang, a self-professed rhino horn trader, in an undercover Al Jazeera documentary, that he was close to State Security Minister David Mahlobo.

“Cabinet noted the allegations in an Al Jazeera documentary against Minister of State Security, Mr David Mahlobo,” Jeff Radebe, a senior adviser to President Jacob Zuma, told journalists.

“The South African Police Services are investigating the allegations.”

A bloody gift in the shape of a souvenir: Rhino horn

Guang said he was friends with Mahlobo and had hosted him regularly at his massage parlour in Nelspruit in Mpumalanga province and at his home.

In secretly filmed footage, Guang showed off mobile phone pictures of himself and the minister, and said the minister’s wife was involved in the trade.

Pictures have also emerged of Mahlobo with parlour employees.

Mohlobo has denied any relationship with the businessman.

Selling rhino horn is illegal worldwide, but the animals face the threat of extinction due to a surge of poaching driven by demand for their horn in China and Vietnam.

The Al Jazeera investigation revealed that smugglers used packets of long strips of dried meat known locally as biltong to conceal shipment of ivory.

South Africa is home to around 20,000 rhinos, roughly 80 percent of the worldwide population [Al Jazeera]

Mahlobo’s denial

South Africa’s elite police unit, the Hawks, confirmed investigations were under way into the alleged links between Mahlobo and Guang.

“What we need to do is to get a statement from him (Mahlobo),” special police unit spokesman Hangwani Mulaudzi told AFP news agency on Thursday.

“The allegations have been made … they are talking about him, they are talking about his wife.”

Mahlobo this week denied all accusations of wrongdoing.

“I am not a friend of the guy, nor have I been ever to his home,” he said in a statement. “My wife has no business relationship with the man or his employees.”

Mahlobo added that he had visited Guang’s massage spa for treatment but had “no idea” that Guang was involved in illegal rhino trade.

In 2008, less than 100 rhino were poached in South Africa, but in recent years numbers have rocketed – with nearly 1,200 killed last year alone.

South Africa is home to around 20,000 rhinos, roughly 80 percent of the worldwide population.

Rhino horn is composed mainly of keratin, the same substance as in human nails.

It is sold in powdered form as a supposed cure for cancer and other diseases – as well as an aphrodisiac – in Vietnam and China.

Source: Al Jazeera News And News Agencies

Survey says bribery increasing in South Africa

News24

Marked increase in bribery in SA – survey

16 minutes ago

Carin Smith

(iStock)

Cape Town – Incidents of bribery are on the rise in South Africa, according to the findings of the latest ENSafrica annual anti-bribery and corruption survey.

About 132 respondents took part in the third annual anti-bribery and corruption (ABC) survey and Steven Powell, forensics director at law firm ENSafrica, released the results at a briefing on Friday.

Most survey respondents work in the financial services sector, followed by manufacturing, retail and wholesale. The rest of the respondents are active in the energy, consulting, telecommunications, mining, transport, IT and electronics; and tourism sectors.

And the survey found that 39% of respondents have experienced incidents of bribery and corruption in the past two years.

Although 92% believed that their companies demonstrated a culture of compliance and 90% indicated that their companies had an anti-bribery and corruption policy in place, it turned out there actually was an absence of certain important measures, according to Powell.

About 27% of respondents said they were highly exposed to bribery in Africa – this is up from 17% in 2015 – while 57% said they were moderately exposed.

About 15% of companies indicated that their companies did not, for instance, do due diligence on merger and acquisition transactions.

Meanwhile, 28% said no due diligence was done on new employees and 35% said no due diligence screening was done on third parties.

About 79% of respondents indicated that their companies did not provide anti-bribery and corruption training to third parties. This is despite 76% of respondents indicating that the most significant anti-bribery and corruption risk faced by their companies was the use of third parties.

About 52% of respondents said they were exposed to the risk of bribes and 48% to facilitation payments. The exposure of employing government officials or their relatives jumped from 8% in 2015 to 21% in 2016.

About 92% of respondents indicated that the area that would be most severely impacted by bribery or corruption would be their “corporate reputation”, followed by financial loss (55%), possible debarment from government contracts or trading (29%) and a negative impact on the share price (24%).`

The most frequent means of reporting incidents, according to the survey results, were verbal reports to management, followed by whistle-blower hotlines and email.

“From a practical perspective, the importance of whistle-blower hotlines cannot be over-emphasised as they provide employees and third parties with a vital channel to report suspected incidents of bribery and corruption to senior management,” explained Powell.

“Many systems allow whistle-blowers to remain anonymous, which can address fears of victimisation and personal danger.”

“The key findings of the survey suggest that a regulator may perceive the commitment of certain companies to anti-bribery and corruption as being superficial and unable to pass muster if placed under scrutiny,” said Powell.

“This could in turn expose companies and senior management to significant legal liability.”

He added that for some corporates operating in Africa there may be a prevailing view that compliance with anti-bribery and corruption laws is simply too costly and that business cannot be effectively conducted if stringent controls were to be put in place and enforced.

“Regulators have been dishing out staggering fines in recent years – with US and UK regulators leading the charge,” said Powell.

In his view, the arrest of the son of a former Gabonese prime minister in August this year for allegedly paying bribes on behalf of a US company in Zimbabwe, the Congo and Libya, re-affirms the focus of the US regulators on bribery in Africa.

“Corporates that believe they can escape the jurisdiction of foreign regulators should be cautious as ultimately there is a global wave of change towards zero tolerance to non-compliance,” said Powell.

“When it comes to corrupt activities, prevention is better than cure and anti-bribery and corruption compliance should be non-negotiable for all corporates operating in Africa.”

Powell emphasised the importance of the tone for a culture of anti-bribery and corruption to be set from the top in a company.

“Actions do ultimately speak louder than words and it is important that the tone from the top is confirmed by actions to improve anti-bribery and corruption compliance,” said Powell.

Of particular importance in his view, is the extent to which resources and funding are dedicated to anti-bribery and corruption compliance.

Powell also emphasised the importance of continuous monitoring.

READ: Gordhan speaks out on patronage, corruption

Ten important “ingredients”

Powell highlighted ten aspects that should form part of an effective anti-bribery and corruption programme:

– A commitment to compliance at the highest management level;
– Written and widely disseminated compliance policies;
– Periodic review and updates;
– Independence and funding;
– Training and guidance;
– An internal reporting mechanism;
– Investigations;
– Enforcement of policies and disciplinary measures for non-compliance;
– Paying attention to third party relationships;
– Monitoring and testing.

South Africa – DA says national anti-corruption forum hasn’t met for four years

News24

2016-07-06 09:27

(iStock)

Cape Town – The National Anti-Corruption Forum (NACF) has failed to convene a single meeting in four years, the DA said on Tuesday.

“This dereliction is indicative of the ANC government’s hollow commitment to fighting corruption in the public service and elsewhere,” DA shadow minister of public service and administration Annette Lovemore said.

She was reacting to a reply received to a DA parliamentary question.

“I will write to the portfolio committee on public service and administration requesting that that the Public Service Commission – under which the NACF falls – appear before Parliament to account for this grave dereliction of duty.

“The PSC is answerable to Parliament in terms of section 196(5) of the Constitution and must account for this corruption-mongering state of affairs.”

The NACF consists of business, civil society, and government representatives. Each sector is represented by 10 members.

Lovemore said the Public Service Commission had failed in its constitutional mandate.

“An average of about 250 public servants are found guilty of corruption each year, following internal disciplinary processes. However, the minister of police has stated in another parliamentary reply that he only deals with approximately 90 cases of corruption a year.”

She said that according to police statistics, at most only one-third of public servants found guilty of corruption, internally, were ever reported to police.

“These statistics do not speak of a high level of public sector commitment to rooting out corruption,” she said.

Attempts made at meeting

Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) spokesperson Dumisani Nkwamba said the NACF had not been able to meet since December 10 2012, despite several attempts being made to convene.

“These attempts did not yield any positive results due to the unavailability of key representatives from the various sectors – government, business and civil society. As a result, the NACF was not able to implement any joint programmes, as was agreed to at the last summit held in December 2011,” he said.

The DPSA had not budgeted funds for the forum, as the PSC served as the secretariat to the NACF, Nkwamba explained.

“As secretariat, the PSC is responsible for all logistical arrangements and support to the work of the governance structure of the NACF. In the 2006/2007 financial year government provided the secretariat with R4.5m to implement projects listed under the national anti-corruption programme which was drafted by the NACF.

“The two other sectors sponsored their own sector-specific projects and contributed to the December 2011 summit, held at the Sandton Convention Centre.”

Nkwamba said the NACF had not been replaced by any other body.

“As government we recommit to engage with our partners, civil society and business sector, to reinvigorate the NACF.  The fight against corruption requires the involvement of all sectors of society and therefore, we cannot be content with the state of affairs regarding the forum.”