Former police boss Phahlane dismisses ’baseless’ allegations against him at Zondo inquiry
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Former national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane said on Friday the allegations made by former officials of the Independent Police Investigative unit (Ipid) against him at the Zondo Commission were baseless and there was no evidence of wrongdoing on his part.
In a testimony presented by advocate Johan Eksteen, Phahlane was responding to testimony of former Ipid head Robert McBride and former head of investigations Matthew Sesoko.
McBride previously told the commission that SAPS ran on a patronage system where junior officers were promoted to carry out their seniors’ bidding.
He also detailed how criminal charges were used to intimidate Ipid investigators, including police launching counter-investigations.
Sesoko implicated Phahlane in the extradition of Zimbabweans who were tortured and killed in their home country after being handed over by the Hawks.
Eksteen said McBride was not new to Phahlane as they came a long way back since 2009, when he negatively implicated him and there was negative publicity and undue attacks on his client.
“After Mr McBride returned to the office of Ipid, the allegations ensued were by him and Paul O’Sullivan, who worked with McBride in the investigations,” he said.
Eksteen said the allegations made by the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) in 2012 were peddled by McBride and O’Sullivan in the media and police portfolio committee meeting in 2016.
He said contrary to a testimony by McBride that it was him who dragged Phahlane to Parliament, it was in fact the former Ipid boss who first made the allegations in the portfolio committee.
Eksteen told of how Phahlane in his affidavit revealed that McBride, who was under suspension, once came to his house because he was of the view that he was under attack like him.
“He then told General Phahlane that the people do not want good people and they would do everything in their power to fight us. He did not understand what he was saying.
“The suspension and the allegations could have made him make this remark. He then further said ’they are using the media to attack us’ and that he and Phahlane should be careful.”
However, Eksteen said Phahlane was surprised when McBride offered that they must work together with the people who wanted them out of their positions.
He stated that Phahlane found that McBride was behind the video clip showing his wife under attack in Johannesburg and forwarded it to O’Sullivan.
Eksteen said it was in November 2016 that Phahlane was informed by a building contractor that he was approached by people conducting a probe into his house and that their leader had identified himself as O’Sullivan.
He said two days later the same people went to the builder asking him to make a statement with the Ipid.
“It was because of the second call that General Phahlane decided he needed to bring it (the matter) to the attention of the crime intelligence to be investigated because a private person goes around questioning the building of his house.”
When Phahlane cancelled an appointment to give a warning statement to Ipid investigator Cedric Nkabinde, who was investigating a case defeating ends of justice, the matter was reported as breaking news in the media.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) had declined to prosecute the matter because of a lack of evidence.
Eksteen also said there were other cases of corruption and fraud that were levelled against his client for allegedly receiving gratification from person doing business with SAPS.
“This matter, in June 2018, was struck from the court roll and to date has not returned. It is clear that it is because of a lack of evidence rather than wrong doing on his part.”
Eksteen said McBride had created an impression that there were counter investigations when SAPS was probed by Ipid and implicated his client.
It was then head of the crime intelligence unit, General Agnes Makhele, who at first requested the unit to do the investigation and after a report back, and it was decided to include the North West team under Jan Mabuya, he said.
Eksteen added that the NPA guided the investigation and were the ones that made a decision.
He also stated that Phahlane was surprised that Sesoko dragged him in the extradition of Zimbabweans.
“Never was General Phahlane ever involved in any investigation or implicated by any person previously. It was only now suddenly done by Sesoko.
“This clearly shows the maliciousness that the Ipid by the name of Sesoko and McBride have against general Phahlane. They want to implicate him in matters which he is not involved in,” Eksteen said.