Former FS crime intelligence chief arrested for 'covering up' for Phahlane

It was 'clear that Agnes Makhele 'was hiding some evidence', says IPID

Former Free State crime intelligence chief arrested for 'covering up' for Phahlane

11 January 2018

Pretoria – The former head of crime intelligence in the Free State has been arrested for the role she allegedly played in protecting former acting national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane.

Major General Agnes Makhele appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Thursday morning on charges of defeating the ends of justice and contravening section 33 of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) Act.

Makhele has been accused of running a counter-investigation through Crime Intelligence, in an attempt to protect Phahlane from an corruption case against him.

'Lying to investigators'

According to IPID, Makhele, who was appointed to her acting position by Phahlane, instructed her subordinates to lie to their investigators in an attempt to cover up her involvement in the counter-investigation conducted by Crime Intelligence and a North West investigative team led by Major General Ntebo Mabula.

She has also been accused of procuring equipment to frustrate IPID’s investigation and of authorising payment to private companies to spy on IPID, as well as civilians involved in the Phahlane case.

In an affidavit seen by News24, an IPID investigator stated that Makhele - along with provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Baile Motswenyane - established the North West team in order to "interfere with witnesses under false pretense of (a) security breach".

The IPID investigator said he went to the Crime Intelligence boardroom to interview Makhele and had called an officer to explain certain aspects behind documents which were in dispute. As the officer started to explain the documents, Makhele allegedly stood up and interrupted her and then left the room with her, the investigator said.

'Hiding some evidence'

He said he then asked to interview the officer later and she told him that, when she stood up, Makhele had winked at her and had told her not to say anything when they were outside the boardroom.

"It was clear that Major General Makhele was hiding some evidence in the matter, as those letters in question have evidential value in the investigation," the affidavit said.

Footage of the meeting also showed Makhele indicating with her finger that the officer should not talk to IPID.

For the past year, IPID has been pursuing a case of corruption against Phahlane, focusing on how he, a career police officer, could afford to build a house worth around R8m.

Allegations of cash payments of at least R700 000 and money stuffed into plastic shopping bags to pay builders, as well as questions around a number of vehicles that were in his name, formed part of the probe.

IPID spokesperson Moses Dlamini said it is concerning that senior police officers had attempted to interfere with a legitimate IPID investigation, in an effort to shield Phahlane from being investigated for serious allegations of corruption.

"Unfortunately, she is not the only one, but the wheels of justice will catch up with all of those involved," said Dlamini.

The matter against Makhele has been postponed to February 19.