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Top cop linked to IT probe
Wednesday, 01 August 2012 00:00
Written by Nicola Mawson
Newly-appointed South African Police Service (SAPS) commissioner Riah Phiyega stepped down as a director of Lefatshe Technologies a few days before heading up a ministerial task team set up to probe the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC).
The ministerial task team, established by then transport minister Sibusiso Ndebele in February 2010, uncovered that the RTMC did not follow procedures when contracting with Lefatshe to supply an accident management system at a cost of almost R60 million.
It has emerged that Phiyega was a director of Lefatshe Technologies at the time the deal was awarded, raising questions about the task team’s findings and recommendation that disciplinary action be taken against RTMC executives. This is the second instance in which the commissioner’s appointment has raised questions around a conflict of interest. ITWeb recently revealed that Phiyega was, until her appointment, a director of Kapela Capital, a subsidiary of Kapela Holdings, which owns 40% of XON. XON’s networking and security unit provides services to the police.
In February 2010, Ndebele decided to appoint a task team, led by Phiyega, to look into allegations of misconduct at the RTMC. The task team recommended that disciplinary action be pursued against the CEO, senior executive manager (SEM) and SEM of corporate services, the CIO and CFO on various matters.
CEO Ranthoko Rakgoale and another executive were accused of, among other things, bypassing procurement processes in appointing Lefatshe Technologies. It was recommended that the board be held liable for not following transparent and equitable procurement processes in appointing Lefatshe. The board was subsequently disbanded.
In the year to March 2010, the RTMC incurred R360 million in irregular expenditure, which included R200 million irregular use of eNatis transaction fees, Ndebele said in March.
According to records from the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, Phiyega is a former director of the IT company. However, the record indicates the director change form was dated 12 March 2010, which is when information in the database was changed, either manually or electronically.
Howard Dembovsky, chairman of the non-profit Justice Project SA, was reliably told that Phiyega only stepped down two days before taking up her post. He says disclosures into conflicts of interest were made in writing, and Phiyega did not list her association with Lefatshe. President Jacob Zuma announced Phiyega would be the first female commissioner of the police service on 13 June. BuaNews reported, at the time, that the new commissioner had chaired the task team, and had gone through a vetting process.
Dembovsky says at the time that the contract was awarded by the RTMC to Lefatshe, Phiyega was a director. He says her appointment to the task team is a huge conflict of interest and raises questions about the validity of the entire report.
The traffic accident management system has not been installed, never mind implemented, says Dembovsky. “She should never have been appointed.”
Transport spokesman Tiyani Rikhotso could not be reached for comment, and Lefatshe, SAPS and Phiyega did not respond to an e-mailed request for comment, nor could Phiyega be reached telephonically at the time of going to print.
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