Just days after being denied bail on corruption charges, Captain Morris ‘KGB’ Tshabalala’s employment with the SAPS appears to have been terminated.
This comes after it was revealed in the Specialised Commercial Crime Court in Pretoria last week that the Crime Intelligence officer had been convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to 10 years in jail in 1996, which he failed to serve despite losing an appeal.
On Monday News24 reported that the police had fired Tshabalala. But police spokesman Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said Tshabalala had been dismissed in 2013 and had not been on the payroll since then.
Naidoo’s comments are contrary to details contained in an indictment presented to the court last week that indicated that while Tshabalala was arrested in connection with an armed robbery in Sasolburg in 2013 and for which he was sentenced to 10 years, he remained on the police payroll despite being “dismissed”.
According to the indictment, Tshabalala served two-and-a-half years of his 10-year sentence before being released on parole.
On his release in 2015, Tshabalala returned to work at Crime Intelligence where he has been receiving a state salary of between R20,000 and R30,000, and has the use of a state vehicle with a fuel allowance of up to R8,000 and a R1,500 cellphone allowance, the indictment stated.
Officials from the Independent Police Directorate arrested Tshabalala on 16 January 2018 when he arrived to meet with his parole officer.
He is now facing five charges including fraud, corruption and theft relating to payments made from the Crime Intelligence slush fund. On Friday he was denied bail.
According to the state’s case, Tshabalala claimed R478,900 from the fund to pay for blinds and curtains at a safe house but paid only R270,000 to Umwezo Wethu Promotions CC for the work done. He allegedly kept the remaining R208,900 for himself. Umwezo Wethu Promotions CC allegedly also paid him an additional R50,000 as a kickback.
In a second transaction, Tshabalala allegedly claimed R85,105 on behalf of the same company but only paid over R39,500 to it, keeping the rest for himself.
“This (Tshabalala being fired) is long overdue. Captain KGB should never have been appointed in the first place as a convicted person fleeing from justice. This points to an abysmal failure by the SAPS vetting processes,” said Zakhele Mbhele, DA Shadow Minister of Police.
Tshabalala first joined the SAPS as an intelligence gatherer in 2001 despite his 1996 conviction.
In court last week, his lawyer argued that Tshabalala had not evaded prison but failed to serve his sentence as he had been misinformed by his legal representation at the time.
“I continued with my normal life in and around Gauteng after that,” said Tshabalala.
According to state prosecutor, Advocate Chris Smith, Tshabalala has been bragging about enjoying protection from police heads and some politicians.
Tshabalala denies this.
Commenting on Tshabala’s arrest, Gareth Newham from the Institute of Security Studies said: “Crime Intelligence is highly dysfunctional because people at the top are not doing their jobs.”
According to Newham the profound dysfunction in SAPS started in 2011 during the presidency of Jacob Zuma and it has since been declining.
Newham said the problem the Crime Intelligence division has is its senior management. “This is one small arrest when there are a large number of senior people who should be dealt with,” said Newham.
He said Crime Intelligence was a critical division within the police as it helped tackle organised crime.
“IPID cannot fix the problem in Crime Intelligence, it is SAPS that should do this… We have heard nothing from the national commissioner about fixing the problem in Crime Intelligence,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mbhele said that “if the police leadership was seriously committed to fighting crime, it would not elevate compromised individuals to top positions”. DM
Photo: Victor (flickr)
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