Top cops suspended over alleged dubious deals with forensic firm FDA
Police CFO Phalaphala Avhashoni Ramikosi and technology chief Adeline Shezi have been suspended, and 21 other officials are being probed
Two high-ranking officials within the South African Police Service (SAPS) have been suspended following an ongoing forensic investigation that has implicated them in dubious financial transactions amounting to hundreds of millions of rand.
This was revealed on Wednesday evening by national police commissioner Gen Khehla Sitole during a meeting with parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa).
Sitole told MPs that SAPS CFO Lt-Gen Phalaphala Avhashoni Ramikosi and the police’s technology chief‚ Lt-Gen Adeline Shezi‚ were suspended after their names featured prominently in questionable contracts the police entered with controversial service provider Forensic Data Analysts (FDA)‚ including R106m in over-expenditure over three years.
The report also shows that Ramikosi‚ Shezi and 21 other officials “made misrepresentations to national treasury” — in some instances to facilitate payments to FDA by seeking budget reprioritisations.
FDA supplies critical infrastructure and technological equipment used by the police in forensic investigations.
Its owners threatened to collapse the criminal justice system in April after it was not paid by SAPS and state-owned IT agency SITA between December 2017 and March this year.
Scopa asked for a forensic probe of the “suspect contracts” in March‚ with chairperson Themba Godi saying it was shocking that a single service provider had the power to shut down the criminal justice system.
Sithole said negotiations had now begun with FDA owner Keith Keating for him to “liberate the sovereignty of the state”.
“We have been approached by FDA. FDA indicated to us that they are prepared to liberate the sovereignty of the state by handing over the software‚ but at a price.
“They wrote us a letter making an offer for the handover. I put my team together and I said let them work on the matter together with FDA‚” said Sitole.
“So they sent us the offer and we’ve just asked them to break down the offer so that we can look at it. So at the present moment that’s also a matter which is under consideration to see if they are well prepared to liberate the sovereignty of the state‚ which has always been a national security issue to us.”
Of the 23 SAPS officials implicated in the procurement scandal‚ three resigned during the forensic probe‚ and one quit during a disciplinary process. Disciplinary action is under way against two others. The remaining 17 are still under investigation.