Riah Phiyega may face criminal charges

A report has been released which found that Phiyega committed perjury & ignored internal processes.

FILE: SA police commissioner Riah Phiyega addresses the press in Cape Town regarding the latest 2014/2015 crime statistics. Picture: Anthony Molyneaux/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko has set in motion a process that may result in criminal charges of fraud and perjury being brought against the country's embattled top cop.

Nhleko established a ministerial reference group last year to probe a series of serious allegations levelled against Riah Phiyega by senior police officials, who had either been demoted, suspended or removed.

The group has made damning findings against Phiyega, including that of criminal conduct.

Nhleko said the next step is for three separate teams to tackle the report's recommendations.

The minister said one of the teams charged with looking at the recommendations, will be led by a retired judge or senior advocate.

The team will focus on formulating charges and taking disciplinary steps against the embattled commissioner.

"They need to be clearer in terms of the instruments that the minister will have to embark on and focus on."

Another team should be led by a commercial crimes investigator to probe wasteful expenditure.

In response to the Farlam commission's report on the Marikana massacre, President Jacob Zuma decided Phiyega should face an inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

To make matters worse, Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Police has recommended steps be taken against Phiyega for encouraging provincial commissioners to publicly voice their support for her, prior to her suspension.

MPs have concluded that Phiyega and the provincial commissioners were wrong to attempt to influence the process initiated by the President.

They adopted a report on Wednesday on the outcomes of an unprecedented parliamentary inquiry into the circumstances that led to the issuing of the controversial statements of support for Phiyega in August.

The committee wants the police minister to consider appointing Boards of Inquiry into the conduct of the provincial commissioners involved.

Members of Parliament believe Phiyega's spokesperson Solomon Makgale also tried to deliberately mislead them, and have recommended appropriate steps be taken against him for his conduct.

The next step is for the committee's report to go to the National Assembly for adoption.