Khomotso Phahlane. GALLO IMAGES
Khomotso Phahlane. GALLO IMAGES

Former acting police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane is not off the hook despite the withdrawal of fraud and corruption charges against him on Thursday.

The charges cost Phahlane an appointment to the top job. He served at the helm of the police from October 2015 to June 2017, after Riah Phiyega’s suspension.

The National Prosecution Authority (NPA) said on Thursday the setting aside of the charges was not an acquittal but a provisional withdrawal pending completion of investigations.

The prosecution withdrew the charges against Phahlane; his wife, Beauty; and used-car dealership owner Durandt Snyman after the specialised commercial crime court refused to grant a three-month postponement for further investigation.

NPA spokeswoman in Gauteng Phindi Mjonondwana said they had withdrawn the case to complete the investigation.

"This does not mean [the trio are] off the hook. Once the investigations are complete, we will re-enrol the case," she said.

Independent Police Invest-igative Directorate (Ipid) spokesman Moses Dlamini said Phahlane and his co-accused were challenging the search warrants in a civil case pending in the High Court in Pretoria.

Ipid was confident that once this civil matter was resolved, the case would be placed back on the roll.

"We believe the evidence obtained during the contested search will further strengthen the already strong case," he said.

They were facing six counts of fraud and corruption for allegedly accepting gratifications from Snyman, who allegedly helped forensic supply companies doing business with the police to pay kickbacks to Phahlane and his wife, a brigadier in the South African Police Service.

Ipid alleges that Snyman’s dealership was used by Forensic Data Analysts, which supplied the police with forensic equipment, to facilitate the kickbacks to Phahlane and his wife using vehicles purchased from Snyman’s dealership.

Private investigator Paul O’Sullivan, who laid charges against Phahlane, said he was confident that Phahlane will be rearrested in due course and would face much more serious charges than those he has faced up to now. His only concern was that Phahlane would interfere with witnesses.

In opposing the application for a lengthy postponement, Phahlane’s advocate said bringing the matter before court prematurely was "a road show for the press", adding that the court should not be part of such a show. Magistrate Nicca Setshogoe refused to grant any further postponements, forcing the state to abandon the prosecution.

Phahlane refused to respond to questions.