Home South African Cops accused of sourcing R6.9m in unlawful donations

Cops accused of sourcing R6.9m in unlawful donations

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SAPS allegedly received Police Day gifts and sponsorships with the national commissioner’s approval.

Corruption claims valued at about R6.9million have been levelled at the police, with the alleged approval of the national commissioner, for receiving “unlawful donations” for its annual Police Day event.

Internal documents, which The Star has seen, show how the national SAPS allegedly flouted its own laws and regulations when they approached and received gifts and sponsorship worth R6889401.65 from seven private-sector companies for the January event.

The alleged unlawful gifts included 10 smartphones from Huawei and 21 from MTN, worth a total of R244479, despite a November 2011 national instruction that the SAPS should “not accept any found, unclaimed or donated cellular phones”.

According to a national standing order within the police, “a member may not, without the permission of the commissioner, approach any business, firm or other financial institution for sponsorship for exhibitions, productions, competitions, tours and so on.”

An internal circular in October stated that written permission was mandatory “to confirm whether the companies (approached for sponsorship) do not have bids under consideration which may pose a risk to the service”.

Another document, which was signed by National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole noted: “In this case (for the Police Day) it appears that no prior permission was requested or granted to approach donors and sponsors concerned.”

The document was drawn-up and signed in March; two months after the event.

Other companies noted as donors in police records were Avbob, which donated R652800 in golf shirts, Old Mutual, which sponsored R357700 of golf and T-shirt, Metropolitan Health Risk, which pledged cumulative R526800 in golf shirts and caps, Fitbit fitness devices and R50000 to the SAPS Educational Trust, VO Call, which paid R4838822 for accommodation; and Polmed, which provided sunscreen and water estimated at R268800.

These sponsorships and gifts were not published in the SAPS financial statements.

However, they were recorded in a register kept by divisional and provincial commissioners.

Several high-ranking officers accused Sitole of promoting corruption as the national finance management division within SAPS did not sign the document, and two lines were drawn where the signature was supposed to be.

“If the finance management division does not attach its signature there, that means that Sitole allowed corruption to happen,” contended a source, who asked to remain anonymous.

The Star sent detailed questions to the SAPS national management, including Sitole’s office.

Responding on their behalf, national police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo said: “The SAPS management is satisfied that all due processes and procedures were adhered to in this matter.”

The police ministry referred queries to the national SAPS.

MTN spokesperson Jacqui O’Sullivan confirmed the company had donated Huawei phones to the police.

“We can also confirm that all MTN internal processes were adhered to when this donation was made.

“MTN has no sight of, or input into, SAPS internal processes and policies,” she said.

“It is, therefore, SAPS’ responsibility to ensure compliance to their policies,” she added.

O’Sullivan’s views were echoed by Huawei spokesperson Vanashree Govender, who confirmed that the firm donated 10 phones for the Police Day.

Govender added that Huawei was also not aware of the force’s internal regulations regarding donations and acceptance of phones when the company was approached.

Polmed refuted that it sponsored R268800 towards the event despite police records showing it had. Its principal officer Neo Khauoe said the medical scheme provided wellness support to 4000 of its members who attended the event.

“The scheme conducted both member education and wellness screening. It’s the scheme’s normal practice to provide wellness supplements to members in good standing who visit our wellness and information stalls.”

Old Mutual, Avbob and Metropolitan Health said they couldn’t comment on the SAPS’s internal proceedings, with the latter two saying they made the donations in support of public servants. Vocall said it was satisfied its sponsorship was above board.