New police commissioner grilled over dubious procurement contracts

Cop turned businessman, Keith Keating allegedly paid kickbacks to Khehla Sitole’s predecessor, Kgomotso Phahlane, in return for tenders.

FILE: General Khehla John Sitole. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Newly-appointed National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole has received a baptism of fire in Parliament on Monday where he is being questioned about dubious procurement contracts amounting to more than R5 billion.

Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts is trying to get to the bottom of allegations of procurement irregularities with a company supplying forensic light sources and other equipment to the police since 2010.

Cop turned businessman, Keith Keating allegedly paid kickbacks to Sithole’s predecessor, Kgomotso Phahlane, in return for tenders. But he has strongly denied the allegations linked to him and his company, FDA.

Investigators working for the police watchdog were digging into Kgomotso Phahlane’s dealings with service providers when they sniffed out his allegedly corrupt relationship with Keating.

What followed was an on-going investigation into all of the payments that SAPS made to Keating’s companies.

Sitole is now under pressure to terminate existing contracts with Keating’s businesses.

"We are also in the process of correcting the organisation and we will just do that, and just make sure the law is applied to anyone who transgresses," Sithole assured lawmakers.

MPs have also been shown a photograph of Keating with some members of the police's Supply Chain Management unit during a visit to Old Trafford in 2011.

They were in Europe for a conference when the photo was taken.