Cele accuses board of inquiry of being biased
SUSPENDED national police commissioner General Bheki Cele has accused the board of inquiry that recommended that he be fired as the nation's top cop of favouring the prosecution's evidence over his own.
Cele - who will ask President Jacob Zuma to disregard the findings of the inquiry into his fitness to hold office - submitted that the board showed more consideration for evidence led by the prosecution while evidence led by Cele was shunted.
In his submissions to Zuma, Cele argues that the evidence of three witnesses - Thulani Ngwenya, Lieutenant-General Audrey Mofomme and Paul Schutte - was ignored.
The board of inquiry, which was chaired by Judge Jake Moloi, found that Cele was unfit to hold office and that he should be fired.
However, the beleaguered top cop argues that this sanction is inappropriate and that Zuma would be justified not to accept it.
The inquiry was instituted by Zuma last year after Cele signed two lease agreements, worth R1.7-billion, for buildings in Pretoria and Durban.
The buildings are owned by property mogul Roux Shabangu.
"The evidence established that the national commissioner, as the accounting officer of the SAPS, grossly misconducted himself with regard to the procurement of the Sanlam Middestad and the Transnet buildings in Pretoria and Durban, respectively," the report states.
"The evidence demonstrated that the national commissioner favoured the buildings owned by Shabangu and that he together with Shabangu pushed for the entire buildings in Pretoria and Durban to be leased by the SAPS."
Making its recommendations, the board noted: "The grave misconduct by the national commissioner, his lack of appreciating his unlawful conduct despite overwhelming evidence, proved unquestionably that he is not fit to hold office and that he is unable to execute his official duties efficiently."
However, Cele argues that the board made factual errors and incorrect conclusions.
He also argues that the board's recommended sanction - that he was unfit to hold office and that he be fired - was inappropriate because the board had not dealt with statutory functions and duties of the national commissioner.
Cele's spokesman Vuyo Mkhize would not comment on Cele's submission to Zuma.
"I am not able to comment on that report," Mkhize said.
Zuma's spokesman Mac Maharaj also declined to comment. He referred enquiries back to Cele's spokesman.
"The best person to comment on that is the general himself," said Maharaj when asked if Zuma had received Cele's submissions on the board's findings and recommendations. - firstname.lastname@example.org