Crime Intelligence boss Peter Jacobs lodges criminal complaint over ‘unlawfulness’ in disciplinary against him
Six suspended Crime Intelligence officers, including its head Peter Jacobs, have been the subject of an internal disciplinary hearing this week, but allegations have now surfaced that those running it are not entitled to have access to classified documents crucial to the process — and will break the law if they do.
Divisions among some of the country’s top police officers are becoming even wider. A criminal complaint has been lodged over alleged discrepancies picked up in a disciplinary process focused on Crime Intelligence head Peter Jacobs and five of his colleagues.
This manoeuvre has likely further pitted Jacobs against National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole and the deputy national commissioner of crime detection, Lieutenant-General Sindile Mfazi.
Daily Maverick previously reported that Sitole had pushed ahead with Jacobs’s suspension, a move that Jacobs viewed as part of a broader campaign to sideline him, and that Jacobs claimed Mfazi had bullied and threatened him.
To counter his suspension, Jacobs had written to Sitole saying that there was evidence that the Secret Service Account “was looted by a number of” chief financial officers, divisional commissioners and senior crime intelligence officers.
At face value, it would therefore seem that Jacobs’s claims of being sidelined were linked to the looting he was uncovering relating to the secret account.
Jacobs was served a notice of suspension on 30 November 2020, ironically (in context of what he says evidence points to) due to allegations of personal protective equipment procurement irregularities involving the Secret Service Account
About a week later, so were five other officers: Brigadier Deon Lombard, Colonel Isaac Waljee, Colonel Manogaran Gopal, Major-General Maperemisa Lekalakala and Colonel Bale Matamela.
This week the six have been subjected to a disciplinary hearing – an expeditious process that is basically a condensed form of a usual disciplinary procedure that does not involve witnesses being called to testify or be cross-examined.
The process was meant to run from Monday to Friday.
However, it has since emerged that claims have been made that the police officer chairing the process, the stenographer and the officer investigating the matter, do not have security clearance and are therefore legally not entitled to have access to classified documents that are critical to the process.
If this was indeed the case, police management should have been aware of this from the outset and should not have pushed ahead with the disciplinary.
A criminal complaint, relating to the Contravention of the Protection of Information Act and the Intelligence Act, was subsequently lodged at the Silverton police station in Pretoria on Monday.
National police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo confirmed on Wednesday that a case, matching the case number of the matter lodged in Silverton, related to the Intelligence Act.
“No further details regarding this case will be disclosed at this stage as this matter is subject to investigation as well as the allegations thereon would need to be tested,” he said.
“This case shall have no bearing on any other matters at this stage.”
It is understood Jacobs wrote to Cele on Tuesday about matters relating to the disciplinary hearing, requesting urgent intervention, after unsuccessfully trying to get hold of Sitole and Mfazi.
Cele had then written to Sitole on Wednesday.
While the disciplinary was set to run until Friday, it may wind up prematurely on Thursday.
Jacobs and his suspended colleagues, however, will try to halt the process as they do not believe they have been given a fair chance to deal with the matter.
Daily Maverick previously reported that about a month ago Jacobs was unexpectedly told that his suspension would be lifted, enabling him to return to work on 3 March.
Last month it was also reported that the two senior police officers who Sitole tasked to investigate Jacobs, were the subjects of a Hawks investigation into an alleged R200-million PPE tender spree. DM