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Sitole confirms Leonora Phethle’s criminal record

EWN broke the story last week that Leonora Phethle was convicted of theft in 1997.

FILE: National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole has confirmed the brigadier accused of producing a fake security clearance for the former acting head of crime intelligence had a criminal record before entering the service.

EWN broke the story last week that Leonora Phethle was convicted of theft in 1997.

Sitole told Parliament’s police committee on Tuesday that immediately after the news broke, he ordered a departmental investigation which confirmed her conviction.

He’s also told the committee that despite the accusations against her, she’s still at work.

Deputy police commissioner Bonang Mgwenya says an investigation has revealed police systems did not pick up a conviction against Phethle when she applied to enter the service two years later.

But her conviction was picked up in 2015 when she was recommended for a senior post.

“We’re unsure as to how the system missed the conviction. But one can only assume that it’s because at the time we were not yet advanced in terms of technology.”

Phethle has challenged her suspension on a technicality, for the fabrication of the security clearance certificate of former acting Crime Intelligence head Pat Mokushane.

But Sitole says criminal action against her is at an advanced stage.

Contrary to the views of Members of Parliament, he says she’s not being treated with kid gloves.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)