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“Please don’t fire me”. Top official told Cyril Ramaphosa not to fire him

Source: https://www.news24.com/news24/southafrica/investigations/exclusive-khehla-sitole-briefs-ramaphosa-on-legal-woes-and-a-murky-plot-to-oust-him-20210914


Khehla Sitole, the country wide police commissioner, has written to President Cyril Ramaphosa, pleading with him to keep his role, bringing up insufficient criminal recommendation and a "conspiracy" to depose him via way of means of former Independent Police Investigating Directorate chief Robert McBride.


 

The case revolves round a January High Court ruling that observed Sitole and of his lieutenants, Francinah Vuma and Leonard Tsumane, "breached their duty" via way of means of refusing to cooperate with IPID whilst the cop watchdog investigated a chain of shady dealings. A potential research into Sitole's health to maintain workplace is primarily based totally in this declaratory order.


In an August notice to the president obtained solely via way of means of News24, the pinnacle officer targeted his string of court docket losses, together with how each the High Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) were given it wrong, in keeping with him.


Sitole movements from insufficient criminal recommendation to new proof earlier than the Zondo Commission, which he thinks will exonerate him, in protesting his innocence. He additionally proposes a conspiracy scenario, claiming that McBride became looking his role and became trying to pressure him out via corruption probes.


 

Sitole's legal professionals wrote to Ramaphosa, "This memorandum will provide a complete heritage of the subjects earlier than courtroom docket, the proof earlier than the Zondo Commission, and the opportunities of achievement at the imminent attraction." IPID had focused a employer known as I-View Integrated Services - and the offerings they "gave" to the police's Crime Intelligence branch - by the point Sitole took workplace in November 2017.


Three doubtful contracts have been mentioned via way of means of whistleblowers, starting from the procurement of encrypted phones and defensive jackets to social media tracking software program. IPID stated that every one of the transactions had been irregular. The defensive jackets had been offered for a ways greater than their marketplace value, the encrypted cell phones had been unnecessary, and the R33 million surveillance software program became in no way hooked up on police computers.


IPID discovered of the police's attempt to spend R45 million on a spying device referred to as a "grabber" at a more or less six-fold inflated rate most effective days earlier than the ANC's 2017 Nasrec optionally available convention. In courtroom docket filings, its detectives stated that the device buy became clearly a ruse to launder public coins that could had been used to sway the convention's end result via way of means of bribing vote casting delegates. When Sitole became approached via way of means of IPID, he determined to cancel the acquisition.


It demanded that data associated with the I-View offers be declassified and passed over a month later. IPID additionally sought to interrogate Sitole, Vuma, and Tsumane approximately the canceled grabber buy, however the police refused. Sitole stated he could not declassify the data due to the fact he did not have the authority to do so. All of the negotiations, in addition to a non-public convention in which the deal became hammered out, had been considered "intelligence facts" via way of means of the grabber.


IPID became so annoyed that they received subpoenas to pressure the senior brass to talk with them. Sitole, Vuma, and Tsumane then took criminal motion to have them overturned, a criminal assignment that grew to become out to be a Pyrrhic victory whilst North Gauteng High Court Judge Norman Davis passed down his selection in January.


Davis directed that the data sought via way of means of IPID be declassified and made to be had to them. He additionally issued a assertion that police excessive brass had sheltered at the back of a defective interpretation of the regulation for 3 years in refusing to cooperate with IPID's probe into corruption and maladministration. Sitole's first try to have the judgment overturned earlier than Davis became unsuccessful in May. The SCA concluded his attraction had no affordable threat of achievement a month later.


Sitole, Vuma, and Tsumane have now petitioned the SCA's choose president to pay attention their case. This is essential due to the fact the Davis judgement on Sitole's probity will live useless so long as the case is withinside the courts. Similarly, any board of inquiry concerning his suitability for workplace need to be postponed till all avenues of attraction had been exhausted.


"The country wide commissioner, who became now no longer a celebration to the I-View [contracts] and became appointed after the procurement process, had no purpose to refuse to supply IPID with the crucial data," Sitole's legal professionals wrote to Ramaphosa.


Sitole and his generals had used the Intelligence Oversight Act to preserve IPID and its investigators at bay, claiming they had been helpless to declassify data and divulge any facts concerning the grabber deal. They despatched IPID to the Joint Intelligence Committee's Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence. IPID had claimed that the police had been concealing corruption and misconduct at the back of a shroud of secrecy. In his memo, Sitole said that they had been without a doubt following criminal recommendation.


"It can't be moderately concluded that reliance on section... became carried out on motive to save you IPID from acquiring the facts and data it sought." The applicants' reliance on criminal suggest can't be interpreted as a willful refusal to cooperate with IPID."


Sitole went on to mention that he stopped the trade, which became a kind of "cooperation" in and of itself. These grounds have already been addressed and brushed off via way of means of 3 courts, however the truth that they had been sparkling to Ramaphosa. To Ramaphosa, Sitole argued that Inspector-General of Intelligence Setlhomamaru Dintwe's testimony earlier than the Zondo Commission might be a lift to his purpose.


Dintwe advised Zondo that Sitole had in no way signed off at the Nasrec grabber buy.


"Although that is new proof that became now no longer offered to the courtroom docket a quo on the time of the ruling, it's miles apparent that it's miles significant." We will report an utility to have it recounted if depart to attraction is granted," the file said.


In his clarification to the president, the senior cop alluded to a "ulterior motivation" at the back of IPID's corruption probes, which he have been sucked into. Sitole blanketed a letter from Cedrick Nkabinde, a former IPID investigator, in his memo.


McBride enabled forensic investigator Paul O'Sullivan to address a probe towards former appearing country wide police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane, in keeping with the letter written to Police Minister Bheki Cele in 2018. However, Nkabinde's claims are qualified.


According to IPID sources, the police allegedly promised investigators, together with Nkabinde, rewarding posts in alternate for falsely accusing McBride. Public statements from IPID on the time defined Nkabinde as a renegade investigator.


"[The letter] gives essential facts that alludes to a troubling motive for the research into the alleged acquisition of the grabber in question." Despite the truth that the acquisition became halted, the inquiry continued, and it's miles clean that the purpose became to damage and weaken the country wide commissioner's reputation.


"This became without a doubt to forged a bad mild at the country wide commissioner," Sitole introduced via his legal professionals. "The problems noted withinside the have a look at improve issues approximately the research performed via way of means of IPID's impartiality and battle of interest," says the report. Sitole, Vuma, and Tsumane are making a bet on a petition to the SCA, with a view to preserve their criminal conflict alive.


If they lose in courtroom docket, a status assertion that they didn't do one in all their maximum primary duties as police officers, that is to completely cooperate with IPID investigations, is fertile floor for a board of inquiry to eliminate him from workplace earlier than his time period expires subsequent year.

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Cyril Ramaphosa Khehla Sitole

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