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Police’s top brass face MPs over FDA’s threat to bring justice system to halt

In April, FDA’s Keith Keating issued a statement threatening to switch off the system containing some of the police’s forensic data over a payment dispute.

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

CAPE TOWN - The police’s top management has appeared before Parliament’s finance watchdog to explain why a service provider threatened to bring the country's criminal justice system to a halt.

In April, Forensic Data Analysis (FDA), owned by former police officer Keith Keating, issued a statement where he threatened to switch off the system containing some of the police’s forensic data over a payment dispute.

Members of Parliament (MPs) have on Wednesday grilled Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole on the status of contracts between the police and the FDA, which also supplies police with forensic equipment.

MPs have expressed concerns about what has been described as a dodgy contract between the police and the FDA.

Lawmakers have been informed that FDA holds the source code and intellectual property rights for the software.

Scopa chairperson Themba Godi says the arrangement has opened up the country to a national security breach and he’s demanded answers.

“What kind of people do we have in the leadership of the police and the State Information Technology Agency? People who can make such ridiculous arrangements that would place the security of the country and the sovereignty of our nation in the hands of just a company.”

Sitole says parliamentarians’ concerns are justified.

“The committee was correct to be worried and ask certain questions.”

The matter is currently before the courts and the committee will receive further briefings once it has been finalised.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)