The decision to hold a public inquiry into allegations of misconduct against suspended police chief Bheki Cele was made in the interests of transparency, a senior government official has said. The inquiry began on 5 March 2012.
A board was appointed in October 2011 in terms of sections 8(3)(a) and 9(1) of the Police Act, which require the president to appoint an independent board to inquire into allegations of misconduct against a national commissioner and to make findings and recommendations. Cele insists that he will be “vindicated” by the inquiry.
The board’s members – chairman Judge Jake Moloi, advocate Terry Motau SC and advocate Anthea Platt – are examining the allegations and will determine whether Cele is fit to hold office.
The decision to hold a public inquiry was a response to the controversy surrounding a report by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, who found that Cele’s actions with regard to two buildings, one in Pretoria and one in Durban were “improper and unlawful”.
The buildings, owned by businessman Roux Shabangu, were leased at a total cost of R1,6-billion. They were to have accommodated the police's national headquarters in Pretoria and its KwaZulu-Natal provincial headquarters in Pietermaritzburg.
Madonsela urged President Zuma to act against Cele and then-Public Works minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde. Mahlangu-Nkabinde has since been fired.
Board spokeswoman Bongiwe Gambu, of the Government Communication and Information System, has said the board will examine, among other things, whether Cele acted corruptly or dishonestly or with an undeclared conflict of interest in relation to the two leases or failed to prevent irregular expenditure.
She invited public and media participation in the hearing.
In response to questions by State Advocate Viwe Notshe on 8 March Cele admitted that he had often signed documents presented to him by his heads of departments without scrutinising them.
Cele is the second police commissioner to find himself in trouble. His predecessor, Jackie Selebi, was jailed last year for 15 years for corruption after a lengthy trial that started in 2008.
Information or evidence must be set out in an affidavit, to be supplied to the Secretary of the Board by mail at: The Secretariat, Board of Enquiry, PO Box 7078 Pretoria 0001.
Submissions can also be made by hand at: 226 Andries street, Die Meent building, 8th floor, corner Pretorius Street, Pretoria. Email submissions can be sent to: email@example.com.