First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

Police brigadier nabbed with 7 others over almost R1m i...

South Africa

COP IN THE DOCK

Police brigadier nabbed with seven others over almost R1m in dodgy contracts

Illustrative Image: Police parade at the SAPS college: (Photo by Gallo Images/Foto24/Craig Nieuwenhuizen)

A serving brigadier in the South African Police Service is one of eight suspects arrested in connection with irregular contracts in the national police commissioner’s corporate service office.

Brigadier Stephina Mahlangu and seven co-accused were released on R3,000 bail each after a brief appearance in the Pretoria Magistrates’ Court on Monday, facing charges of fraud, forgery and theft. The charges emanate from four irregular contracts worth more than R960,000 and awarded between 2014 and 2017.

The other accused are businesspeople Kishene Chetty, Kumarasen Prithiviraj, Salamina Khoza, Harry Milanzi, Abigayle Esau, Lorrette Joubert and Vhutshilo Mulaudzi. 

According to the spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority’s Investigating Directorate (ID), Sindisiwe Seboka, the eight were arrested over the weekend following an operation by the ID and the SAPS. They were nabbed on Friday and Saturday, 10 and 11 June, and spent the weekend at the Silverton police station.

“The companies are beneficially owned by Kishene Chetty and cover quotes for Sifikile Furniture and Projects (Pty) Ltd. Others are Bambanani Marketing and Projects (Pty) Ltd, Baroma Construction and Office Consumables (Pty) Ltd, Super Stationery Distributors (Pty) Ltd and Vatika and Projects (Pty) Ltd.”

The contracts in question, Seboka explained, were awarded between 2014 and 2017, for the procurement of toners, educational material and digital recording systems.

The prosecutor, advocate Andrea Johnston, said: “The ID’s recent arrest linked to police contracts are a clear indication that no one, including any government department, will be exempt where there is proof of criminality. The consistent hard work of the ID/SAPS team is commended.”

Kishene is also accused of running a vast family racket capturing the police supply’s chain management. According to the ID, the Chettys have run a family racket since at least 2016 which so far involves more than 30 companies, 25 police officers and about 25 civilian associates.

This is not the first time alleged contract irregularity has tarnished the image of the SAPS. In May 2021, Marianne Thamm reported that the SAPS crisis is too big and South Africa must act now.

Another damning matter concerns former acting national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane and his co-accused who have been slapped with charges emanating from the R191-million “blue light” tender to supply emergency equipment to the SAPS in 2017.

Last month, Phalane failed t0 have the “blue light” case struck off the roll. The matter involving Phalane, along with former deputy national commissioner Bonang Mgwenya, former Gauteng police commissioner Deliwe de Lange, Gauteng deputy police commissioner Nombhuruza Lettie Napo, Lieutenant-General Ramahlapi Mokwena, retired divisional commissioner Brigadier James Ramanjalum, Colonel Thomas Dumas Marima and Sergeant Maetapese Joseph Mulaiwa, will be heard on 2 August 2022.

Also dragged to court is former Crime Intelligence boss Richard Mdluli and his co-accused Heine Barnard (former supply chain manager) and Solomon Lazarus (former chief financial officer of the State Security Agency), facing an array of charges including fraud, money laundering, corruption and contravening the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act. 

The alleged crimes were committed between 2008 and 2012. The charges relate to the “gross abuse” of a police intelligence slush fund.

Mdluli is serving a five-year sentence, meted out by the Johannesburg High Court in September 2020, for kidnapping and assault that date back to 1998. Jis application for leave to appeal against the sentence was denied.

The new fraud and money laundering case will be back in the Gauteng High Court on Monday, 20 June when an application for unreasonable delays in terms of the section 342A of the Criminal Procedure Act will be heard. The pre-trial conferences can begin only once this application has been finalised.

Meanwhile, co-accused Ramanjalum is also implicated in another matter. In March 2021, facing corruption charges along with 14 other accused in connection with a R1.9-million SAPS personal protective equipment procurement, was denied bail in the Gauteng High Court sitting in Palm Ridge.

The court has heard evidence that Ramanjalum allegedly plotted to kill those investigating and prosecuting him. He appealed against the magistrates’ court decision to deny him bail in February 2022.

Mahlangu and the other seven accused will return to the Pretoria Magistrates’ Court on 29 June for allocation to the regional court. DM

 

Gallery

Comments - share your knowledge and experience

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or sign in if you are already an Insider.

Everybody has an opinion but not everyone has the knowledge and the experience to contribute meaningfully to a discussion. That’s what we want from our members. Help us learn with your expertise and insights on articles that we publish. We encourage different, respectful viewpoints to further our understanding of the world. View our comments policy here.

All Comments 4

  • The Zuma Era,it says a lot about what we’re facilitated in his tenure, and how people gravitated to his criminality,and following no 1 s example,leader of the country , the anc ,and his love for money, putting his people on the road to despair,others followed, destroying this country!!!What a steep hill to climb to get this country back towards prosperity(if possible),it will take years.Citizens don’t trust “politicians” anymore,that is hard working, law abiding citizens, tax payers.All working people, also those trying to get a job or career,and children and the old!!!Still there are people who want to keep supporting these “destroyers of south africa, there citizens and their dreams!!!!

  • Trust all these officers and any other rank will be publicly dishonorably discharged and loose all benefits including a lengthy jail time.

  • Vincent, can I caution you against overused words. Especially words that make no sense given the fact that it has taken twenty years to get Mdluli behind bars so he was “dragged” nowhere. Nobody is DRAGGED to court; cleva lawyers won’t allow it any more than our pressured and precious courts. But we would all like to see Mdluli dragged to the edge of something. Preferable something very high and a given a push so we could use the tax saved on his incarceration on much-needed social grants.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted