Surveillance footage confirms top cop Sitole's meeting with fraud suspect
Eyewitness News has obtained surveillance of this meeting in Pretoria late last year which police management has refused to answer questions about.
PRETORIA - Eyewitness News has obtained surveillance footage which now confirms National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole, accompanied by several senior police officers and former Police ministerial advisor, Bo Mbindwane, met with a police supplier who is the subject of a fraud and tender corruption investigation.
Police watchdog Ipid has now also questioned the circumstances and reasons for this meeting.
The meeting with I-View Integrated Solutions director Inbanathan Kistiah took place at the Courtyard Hotel in Pretoria on 13 December 2017, just days before the ANC’s elective conference at Nasrec. EWN reported last month that the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) suspected the meeting was part of a plot to defraud Crime Intelligence, allegedly to obtain funds to buy votes at the ANC’s conference.
At the time, all the parties denied there was ever any plot to defraud Crime Intelligence or the existence of a cash-for-votes scam, but would neither confirm nor deny that there was ever a meeting between senior police officials and the police supplier.
The surveillance footage places the following people at the hotel:
- National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole
- Deputy National Commissioner Ntombenhle Vuma
- Deputy National Commissioner Lebeoana Tsumane
- Acting Crime Intelligence Divisional Commissioner Bhoyi Ngcobo
- Former Police Advisor Bo Mbindwane
- iView director Inbanathan Kistiah
#SAPSmeeting here, Sitole is seen arriving, Kistiah is seen at the hotel front desk and so is Mbindwane. The three met alone for more than two hours before others arrived. BB pic.twitter.com/romcAmqGik— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) March 14, 2018
Two days after Sitole and his senior management met with Kistiah, on 15 December, an Ipid investigator sent a letter to the general that dealt with the allegations against I-View. In the letter, which EWN has seen, IPID stated that it had been made aware of an invoice for I-View, worth R45-million, which was being “pushed through at all costs”. It appears that, at the time the letter was sent, the police watchdog was unaware of the meeting which had taken place just days earlier.
The letter reads: “It was also brought to our attention that such amount of money directed to I-View Integrated Systems was in fact to be laundered for buying of votes at the ANC Conference.
“The Directorate engaged a number of SAPS senior officials, some have confirmed that such transaction was being pushed at all costs resulting in a strained relationship amongst senior members. It is against this background that the Directorate finds the alleged transaction suspicious.”
Ipid recommended that the transaction with I-View be stopped with immediate effect and that the SAPS suspend all dealing with I-View until the investigation was completed.
Ipid further set out how it was alleged in November that Crime Intelligence officials were in the process of destroying evidence related to a 2016 contract with the Durban-based service provider. The deal under investigation at that time is said to have lost the police an estimated R54 million. A tip-off about this alleged destruction of evidence eventually led Ipid and the Inspector General for Intelligence to raid I-View and Crime Intelligence offices. Ipid has informed Scopa of these transactions and that investigations are underway.
It seems highly unlikely that, at the time of the meeting at The Courtyard in December, police senior management would not have known that Kistiah and his company were already the subject of a fraud and tender corruption investigation, considering the raids on his business as well as those on Crime Intelligence headquarters.
The footage reveals that Kistiah arrived at the hotel at about 9:30am, and was joined by Mbindwane at about 10:30am. Sitole arrived shortly after Mbalula’s advisor, accompanied by two personal protectors. Mbindwane then ushered Sitole into a conference room.
The CCTV footage shows that Sitole and Mbindwane met alone with Kistiah for nearly two-and-a-half hours, before Vuma joined the meeting at about 12:50pm. Ngcobo arrived at 1:10pm while Tsumane joined the group at about 1:18pm.
According to the footage, Sitole left the meeting at about 2:10pm, while the rest departed about 45 minutes later after Kistiah appears to have settled the account.
Having seen the footage, Eyewitness News contacted the SAPS, the Ipid, Mbindwane and Kistiah with the following questions:
- Why was senior police management including the National Commissioner meeting with a police supplier?
- Was police management aware that the supplier was being investigated for fraud and tender corruption by IPID and the IGI?
- Why was the minister’s political advisor party to this meeting?
- What was the purpose of the meeting?
- Why was the meeting held at a hotel at not at police offices?
Police spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo declined to answer any specific questions related to the purpose of the meeting. He only referred to IPID’s investigation of I-View. “If ever or whenever Ipid is investigating any member or members of the SAPS, as a rule, we do not comment, but Ipid should.
“However, what we can say is that we will welcome such an investigation, we should allow Ipid to continue with such an investigation and we will support them in whatever way we possibly can,” he said.
Kistiah declined to answer any questions, instead he referred to a response to a query sent last month in which he says “that at no stage in its history of its existence nor currently has I-View been involved in any corrupt and fraudulent activities of any nature whatsoever.”
Mbindwane did not respond to a request for comment.
Ipid’s spokesperson Moses Dlamini says their investigators are still waiting for the SAPS to declassify documents related to its inbestigation of I-View.
“There is sufficient evidence to sustain a prima facie case of fraud and corruption. As we speak the SAPS has not complied with their undertaking to Scopa to declassify documents to enable the Ipid to conclude its investigation,” he said.
Dlamini says the nature of the meeting between Kistiah and the senior police management is a concern.
“Why would a service provider who is under investigation call police generals (to a meeting) and they attend, knowing full well that the service provider is under investigation by Ipid?
“Also, why would people who are not involved in police operations or procurement be discussing procurement with service providers?” he asked.