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EXCLUSIVE: Ipid closed cases prematurely to attract funding

A probe by investigative unit Viewfinder and Eyewitness News revealed that some of the cases that are alleged to have been closed without proper investigation include those of rape, death as a result of police action and death in police custody.

A screengrab of Ipid's Matthews Sesoko appearing at the Zondo Commission on 25 September 2019.

JOHANNESBURG - The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) has been prematurely closing cases without proper investigations just to meet targets and attract more funding.

Evidence shows that some investigators have been carrying out these shortcut investigations, which first emerged seven years ago.

A probe by the investigative unit Viewfinder and Eyewitness News reveals a paper trail of reports by the Public Protector’s office, and by Ipid’s risk and ethics department, pointing to a systemic failure to properly investigate cases.

Some of the cases that are alleged to have been closed without proper investigation include those of rape, death as a result of police action and death in police custody.

Despite the Public Protector ringing the alarm way back in 2012, there is no evidence to show that the issue was ever dealt with.

Analysing the provincial reports, a common thread emerges: Ipid investigators reported that there was pressure on them to claim that cases were completed just so they appeared to have met monthly targets.

The directorate appears to be under pressure to meet these targets to appease Treasury in order that it increases their funding.

During his testimony at the state capture commission, former Ipid boss Robert McBride admitted that officers were using a special closure clause in Ipid’s standard operations procedure to inflate statistics, creating a false impression that the directorate was performing better than it actually was.

In an interview with Viewfinder, Ipid’s head of investigation Matthews Sesoko said these allegations emerged between March 2015 and October 2016, the period that he and McBride were on suspension.

“When we returned, there were investigators who reported this to our integrity unit. Mr McBride instructed them to investigate these allegations.”

But the documents that EWN & Viewfinder have seen show that Ipid’s former head of ethics and risk, Amar Maharaj, alerted McBride to the short cut investigations as early as 2014.

‘NO EVIDENCE’

In a statement, Ipid dismissed the allegations as untested and unproven.

Ipid said it had no evidence that its investigators had been prematurely closing cases to manipulate the number of completed investigations.

Ipid’s management said there was no evidence of completion rates statistics being manipulated during the 2015/2016 financial year.

This is despite **EWN **having seen three provincial reports from Maharaj, who alerted McBride of the officers' concerns in 2014. The directorate said its integrity strengthening unit was currently inspecting dockets to determine if there was any merit to the allegations.

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