South African fraud investigators slam country's top police chief


South African National police Commissioner Bheki Cele gives a press conference on November 18, 2010 in Cape Town after the police have arrested a second man in connection with the murder of a Swedish newlywed on her honeymoon in Cape Town.



A South African corruption investigator has ruled that the country’s top police chief and a government minister were involved in “maladministration” of property deals.

Public protector Thuli Madonsela, in a report released Thursday, found that police buildings were leased from a well-connected company at inflated prices.

She slammed South Africa's police chief Bheki Cele for his involvement in the deals, and called for disciplinary action against him by President Jacob Zuma.

Madonsela investigated leases for buildings that were to have served as police headquarters in Pretoria and Durban. In the Durban deal, police had offered $169 million to a politically connected property tycoon for a 10-year lease that was worth less than one third of that amount, Agence France-Presse said.

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Madonsela found that Cele along with Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde were ultimately responsible for the "fatally flawed" deals with real estate magnate Roux Shabangu, a friend of President Zuma.

She ruled that the government paid the company inflated prices, and called the deals “illegitimate” and unlawful,” the BBC says.

"I expect President Zuma to do the right thing," Madonsela is quoted by South Africa's Mail & Guardian newspaper as saying.

South Africa’s previous police chief, Jackie Selebi was convicted of taking $156,000 in bribes from a drug dealer, Glenn Agliotti.

Cele and the minister have so far not commented on the allegations.

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Political analysts have called it the worst crisis to hit Zuma’s government since it took power in 2009, according to the BBC.

"The failure of the national [police] commissioner [Cele] to ensure that the procurement process complied with the said legal requirements... resulted in the invalid conclusion of the lease agreement to the detriment of the state and therefore constituted maladministration," Madonsela said, according to Agence France-Presse.

She said her investigation had turned her into the target of a "dirty tricks" campaign.

The South African Police Service said it will respond to Madonsela’s report early next week.