Did IPID inform Phahlane of probe into him in March last year?

Acting police chief says those with proof of this claim must come forward with it

Did IPID inform Phahlane of probe into him in March last year?

22 February 2017

Johannesburg - Acting National Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane has told Parliament that whoever has proof that he knew about the IPID investigation before November last year should come forward with it.

Could a letter, sent by acting Independent Police Investigative Directorate head Israel Kgamanyane to Phahlane on May 9, 2016, informing him of the investigation, be the proof that Phahlane was asking for?

Phahlane faced a grilling on Wednesday morning over whether he misled Parliament three weeks ago when he said he was not aware of an IPID investigation into him until News24 revealed the investigation in November last year.

Phahlane is being investigated for corruption relating to how he paid for his home worth approximately R8m - which he allegedly paid largely in cash - as well as a charge of defeating the ends of justice.

When Independent Police Investigative Directorate head Robert McBride faced Parliament last week, he made "startling claims" that Phahlane had misled Parliament.

R80 000 sound system

McBride said that he had documentary proof that Phahlane was aware, as early as June 2016, that IPID had initiated an investigation against him.

The second claim made by McBride was that IPID had not yet received the proof from Phahlane that he had paid for a home theatre system in his home.

"All they had received was an email to the bank instructing payment, but actual payment invoices had not yet been received," it was put to Phahlane in Parliament on Wednesday.

Phahlane had told the media in a statement, after an R80 000 sound system was seized from his home in the luxury Sable Hills Waterfront Estate, that he had provided IPID with proof of payment for the sound system, and that there was, therefore, no reason for the search of his home to have taken place.

Phahlane said he had purchased the sound system from a director of a forensics company who supplied chemicals to the SAPS. Phahlane said he had hired the director separately as an interior designer.

'Allegations of tender irregularities'

The letter sent to Phahlane in March 2016 informs him that a complaint had been received against him.

"Kindly be informed that we have received a complaint from Mr Paul O’Sullivan regarding allegations of tender irregularities and irregular appointments," the letter said.

"The IPID in Gauteng has been tasked to conduct investigations regarding the above cases."

The letter then asks that Phahlane arrange a suitable date for IPID investigators to meet with him to discuss the allegations.

At the bottom of the letter is a signature which appears to be Phahlane’s and a handwritten note to someone called Heleen, which News24 understands is Heleen Beukes, Phahlane’s personal assistant.

"Hi Heleen. Yes, schedule accordingly", it appears Phahlane had written at the bottom of the letter.

There is then an email exchange where a meeting was set up between IPID and Phahlane on June 28, 2016, at 10:00 to discuss the allegations.

'Sensation and hullabaloo'

Phahlane told Parliament on Wednesday that IPID needed to investigate their case against him and stop making a "sensation and hullabaloo in the media".

He denied that he had misled Parliament.

"At no point would I come here to mislead Parliament about when I was officially informed of the investigation. Anyone who has different facts must prove it. The facts are clear. On the day I was approached by the IPID people in my office, is the day I found out," Phahlane insisted.

He said he had been given numerous dates when he was supposed to have found out about the investigation, including January, March and June.

"Which date is correct?" he asked. "If anyone has facts proving the opposite they must come forward."

Phahlane also said that, with regards to the proof of payment for the sound system, it was IPID that needed to do their investigations, and not him. He said there was an invoice from the music shop which showed from which bank account the payment was made.

"It was not cash. It was an EFT. Those competent at investigations would track which account was reflected on the invoice," he said.

This article first appeared on News24, see here.