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EXCLUSIVE | 'Don't fire me' country's top cop tells Ramaphosa - and blames McBride

Khehla Sitole, the National Police Commissioner, wrote to President Cyril Ramaphosa, asking him to secure his position, citing inadequate legal advice and a "conspiracy" by Robert McBride, a former Director of Independent Police Inquiry, to depose him.


The whole case concerns a decision by the High Court of January which found Sitole and two of his Lieutenants, Francinah Vuma and Leonard Tsumane, "infringed" by refusing to cooperate with IPID when a number of shady dealings were investigated by the cop watchdog. This declaratory order is based on a prospective investigation of the fitness of Sitole to hold office.


In an August report, the Top Officer detailed his range of court losses to the President, exclusively purchased by News 24. The President also stated how the high court and the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) had flawed.


In his protest against his innocence, Sitole moves from inadequate legal advice to new evidence before the Commission of Zondo, which he believes will exonerate him. He also suggests that McBride want his position and tried to get him out by means of bribes. He also offers an insurgency scenario.


"Th this memorandum provides a comprehensive background to the cases before the court; evidence before the Zondo Commission; and the prospect of success with regard to the forthcoming appeal," Sitole's lawyers told Ramaphosa. By the time of Sitole's taking office in November 2017, IPID was targeting a company called I-View Integrated Services - and the services it gave the branch of police Crime Intelligence.


Three dubious agreements, from the procurement of cryptographic phones and protective jackets to the software for the monitoring of social media, were reported by whistleblowers. IPID said it was irregular to all transactions. The protective jackets were sold far beyond their market value, encrypted mobile phones were unnecessary and police computers never installed R33 million surveillance software.


Only days before the ANC 2017 elective conference in Nasrec. IPID has learned of the efforts of the police to spend R45 million on spying equipment called "grabber" at roughly 6 times the price inflated. His detectives stated in court filures that the acquisition of the equipment was a real cunning for the purpose of bribing the polling delegates to launder public money. He decided to cancel the purchase when Sitole was approached by IPID.



It requested that I-View declassification and handing over records a month later. The IPID also wanted the purchase of canceled grabbers by Sitole, Vuma and Tsumane, but the police refused. Sitole said that he was unable, because he had no authority to do so, to declassify the records. The Grabber considered "intelligence information" all negotiations as well as a private conference where the deal was broken out.



IPID was so frustrated that they were asked to speak with the older brass. Sitole, Vuma, and Tsumane then applied for the overthrow of their action, which was proved a Pyrrhic victory by Judge Norman Davis, High Court of North Gauteng, in January.

Davis requested the declassification and availability of the records sought by the IPID. He also issued a statement that for three years high-brass police officers had failed to co-operate against IPID's probe on corruption and mismanagement behind a false interpretation of the law. The first attempt by Sitole to overturn the judgment before Davis in May was failing. A month later the SCA concluded that its appeal was unreasonable.

The SCA judge president was now asked to hear its case by Sitole, Vuma, and Tsumane. This is crucial because, as long as the case is in court, the Davis judgment on the truth of Sitole will remain ineffective. Similarly, any board must be postponed until all paths of appeal have been exhausted in the event of his aptitude for office.

Sitole's lawyers wrote to Ramaphosa, "The National Commissioner who was not a party to the I-View [Contracts] and had been appointed after the procurement process, had no ground to refuse IPID's essential records."


In order to keep IPID and its investigators in the way of the intelligence surveillance law, Sitole and his generals had claimed to be helpless in declassifying records and in exposing information on the grabber deal. They sent IPID to the Joint Committee of the Intelligence Joint Committee. IPID claimed the police were hiding behind a cover-up of secrecy corruption and misconduct. Sitole said in his memo that they followed only legal advice.

'To prevent IPID from obtaining the information and records it sought..., reliance on section... cannot be reasonably concluded.' Applicants can't be interpreted as refusing to cooperate with IPID by their reliance on legal advisers."

Sitole then said that he stopped the business, which was in and of itself a kind of 'cooperation.' These arguments have already been addressed and rejected by three courts, despite the fact that Ramaphosa was new to them. Sitole argued that his testimony before the Zondo Commission was a stimulus for Ramaphosa's case, Inspector-General of Intelligence Setlhomamaru Dintwe.

Dintwe told Zondo Sitole never signed up for the purchase of the Nasrec grabber.

"Although this is new evidence which at the time of the ruling wasn't presented to the court, it is clear that this is significant.


"If the leave to appeal is granted, we will file an application for recognition," the document states.

The senior cop referred to a "outward motivation" behind the bribes of IPID in his explanation to the President. In his letter, Sitole had an IPID investigator formerly Cedrick Nkabinde letter.

According to the 2018 letter to Police Minister Bheki Cele, McBride allowed forensic enquirer Paul O'Sullivan to probe former acting national police commissioner Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane. The claims of Nkabinde are qualified, however.


According to IPID sources, two investigators, including Nkabinde, had allegedly been promised profitable posts in return for the false accusation of McBride. Nkabinde was then described as a renegade investigator by IPID public statements.


"[The letter] contains important information which refers to an inquiry of the alleged acquisition of the grabber." Despite the purchase being stopped, the investigation continued and, clearly, the objective was to damage and weaken the reputation of the national commissioner.


Sitole added through his lawyers: "This is simply to shed a negative light on the national commissioner. "The issues raised in the study give rise to concerns about the IPID's impartiality and conflict of interests investigation," the report says. In a petition to the SCA, Sitole, Vuma and Tsumana will continue to wage their legal battle

If they lose in court, it is a good reason for a board of inquiry to remove it from office before its term expires in the following year to make a standing statement that they have not fulfilled one of your basic responsibilities as police officers, which is to cooperate fully with the IPID investigations.


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

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Francinah Vuma IPID Independent Police Inquiry Khehla Sitole Leonard Tsumane

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