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Spy boss Arthur Fraser accused of 'threatening' intelligence watchdog

Spy boss Arthur Fraser and Vusi Pikoli.
Spy boss Arthur Fraser and Vusi Pikoli.
Image: Desiree Swart

The Inspector-General of Intelligence has accused State Security Agency director-general Arthur Fraser of threatening him and trying to block an investigation into “serious” allegations against the spy boss.

Dr Setlhomamaru Dintwe said on Wednesday that Fraser had allegedly launched unlawful attempts to block his investigation‚ forcing him to go to court to seek urgent legal protection.

“The Director-General has threatened and intimidated me on more than one occasion‚” he said in a statement.

Fraser was implicated in the alleged mismanagement of state security funds in a book by author Jacques Pauw‚ who in The President’s Keepers claimed that a huge sum of taxpayers’ money was wasted on a project headed by Fraser. Fraser dismissed the allegations.

“In a desperate attempt to bring an end to my investigation into the allegations against him‚ the Director-General has sought to revoke my security clearance. There is no lawful reason or basis for the revocation of my security clearance. The only purpose for revoking my security clearance is to prevent me from investigating the Director-General (him). This is obviously unlawful and an attack on my office and the Constitution‚” said Dintwe.

“Furthermore‚ state resources are used by the Director-General to undermine my office and prevent investigation against him.

“The Director-General went further than that and ‘suspended’ me although he does not have any authority to do so. He wrote to me informing me that I cannot have access to any intelligence as well any intelligence premises including my own office‚ the Office of the Inspector-General of Intelligence. Although the latest acts of the Director-General are ultra vires‚ they have grievously hampered my ability to discharge my constitutional mandate.

“Given the brazen and unlawful actions by the Director-General‚ I have made an urgent application to the High Court for an order setting aside the revocation of my security clearance and an interdict against the Director-General from interfering with my functions. I have also asked the Court to order the Director-General to co-operate in respect of my investigations‚ including the investigations regarding complaints against him.

“I have furthermore asked the Court to put in place measures to ensure my personal security. Arbitrary acts of the Director-General including withholding the resources have constantly brought about security challenges and this cannot be left unattended.”

Dintwe was appointed Inspector-General of Intelligence in March 2017. In his position‚ he is expected to provide civilian oversight of the intelligence services‚ including the State Security Services.

“I have since received complaints that implicate the head of the State Security Agency‚ Mr Arthur Fraser. Some of the allegations that have been levelled against Mr Fraser are in the public domain and have been the subject of media reports over an extended period of time. The allegations are serious and have a damaging effect to the standing as well as the general image of the intelligence services‚” Dintwe said.

“In an effort to distract me from conducting this investigation‚ the Director-General has obstructed the functioning of my office. He is also undermining my investigation into the allegations against him. He has acted in defiance of my constitutional mandate and powers.

“It is in the public interest for the Office of the Inspector-General (OIGI) to fulfil its constitutional mandate. I am committed to the execution of this mandate. Mine is a mammoth task of protecting the citizens of this country against any unlawful actions by the intelligence services. I am not about to fail in this regard even in the face of underhand tactics employed by any of those that I must oversee. This matter will be ventilated in court soon and the law shall take its course.”

This is a developing story. TimesLIVE is seeking a response from Fraser.

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