The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) filed responding papers yesterday against acting police commissioner Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane revealing shocking new information on alleged "dubious transactions" in the purchasing of his house and vehicles.
Last month, Phahlane took IPID head Robert McBride, forensic investigator Paul O'Sullivan, his assistant attorney Sarah Jane Trent and Magistrate JR Tsatsi to court.
He requested that a search and seizure warrant which was used to remove an R80 000 sound system from his house be set aside and that O'Sullivan and Trent be interdicted from taking part in the investigation against him.
Yesterday IPID investigator Mandlakayise Mahlangu responded, opposing Phahlane's application.
"The investigation into the applicant has been independent and objective," Mahlangu stated.
Mahlangu said the relief which Phahlane seeks is academic as he does not seek the return of the goods seized - the sound system. He also said that under the IPID Act, the directorate may appoint any fit and proper person as an investigator and Phahlane was not entitled to a blanket embargo being imposed against O'Sullivan.
The investigator described how the case came in, in February 2016 when O'Sullivan registered a case against Phahlane of alleged corruption, money laundering and/or racketeering. O'Sullivan alleged that Phahlane condoned tender rigging with a businessman who grossly oversupplied chemicals to the SAPS, causing a loss of R50m of public funds.
"Lives were put at risk and crime scene investigations were compromised by the use of out of date chemicals and wrong equipment being supplied," O'Sullivan said.
Mahlangu said O'Sullivan and Trent were asked to help identify witnesses and this was why they first accompanied him to see the estate manager at the Sable Hills Waterfront Estate, where Phahlane lives.
One witness, the builder of the house, told them that the bulk of his payments were made in cash by either Phahlane or his protector Alwyn du Preez in plastic bags from the boot of Phahlane's car. Phahlane had paid him R710 000 in cash he said.
The subcontractors were also allegedly paid in cash from the boot of a black BMW as follows:
- The builder received approximately seven cash payments of R14 000 each, an extra R20 000 in cash to build a wall and R11 000 in cash for the stairs, swimming pool and bathroom wall, which all amounted to R129 000;
- The plasterer was paid R170 000 in cash payments that occurred on a fortnightly basis;
- The electrician was also paid an amount of R10 000 on four or five occasions, amounting to approximately R50 000 cash;
- The plumber was also paid in cash in amounts that totalled R30 000;
- The tiler was paid between R5 000 and R10 000 seven or eight times in cash.
Mahlangu then said they made contact with a witness who told them there were two invoices for the buying of electronic equipment. The first invoice totalled R126 900 and was paid in cash, while the second invoice was R80 075 which had been paid by EFT.
The beneficiary listed was a company called Kriminalistik.
Equipment, including a 55-inch Toshiba flat screen TV, two or three Samsung flat screen TVs and one Jamo home theatre system were delivered to Phahlane's house from the second purchase.
At this point Mahlangu said he, his family, McBride and O'Sullivan all received death threats through text messages which they linked to a member of the SAPS at OR Tambo International Airport. The sender referred to himself as a cousin of someone IPID was investigating, he said.
It was these threats and interference in the investigation that led to a charge of defeating the ends of justice and McBride requesting that then-police minister Nathi Nhleko should ask the president to place Phahlane on leave, pending the results of the investigation.
'Contact with witnesses'
"There is a high probability of Phahlane using his office and his authority to undermine the investigation. This is also clear from the fact that he has made contact with three witnesses and two of them have since deposed to affidavits pertaining to the investigation and the interviews held with them," Mahlangu said.
Phahlane also allegedly accessed a court file containing an application for the subpoena of certain witnesses and information pertaining to a list of intended witnesses, the affidavit said.
This is also likely to compromise the investigation as key witnesses could be intimidated, Mahlangu said.
Phahlane also established his own task team under the pretence of investigating an alleged security breach, the affidavit said. The task team is led by a General Mabula, who is currently being investigated for the possible charges of torture and murder.
This task team has questioned IPID witnesses, arrested O'Sullivan and Trent, sought to obtain all the information on Trent's cellphone without a warrant and launched an investigation against the employment of the data analyst by IPID in the case.
The affidavit then went into further details of IPID's case against Phahlane. It revealed allegations that:
- Phahlane bought a Land Rover Discovery V6 in 2011 for R765 995, which he sold in 2014 to a car dealership in Pretoria for R650 000, but the trade-in value for the vehicle at that time was R557 500. The dealership paid R92 500 above the trade-in value. The car was then sold for R547 500, meaning the dealership made a loss of R106 632.
- A Mercedes Benz C250 Elegance Automatic was bought by Phahlane's wife in 2012 for R482 500. The car was sold to the same dealership in January 2015. The sale of the vehicle was valued at R318 900, according to the dealership's stock card. However, their bank statement for the period, with a reference to Phahlane, said a total amount of R549 999 was paid. This purchase price was R241 099 above the trade-in value.
- The proceeds of the sale for the Mercedes Benz were used to purchase a second Mercedes Benz, a new E250 CDI for R765 000, R350 000 of which Phahlane transferred to his wife's account.
- In 2013, Phahlane purchased a 2013 Nissan Navara for R322 927 which was financed by Nedbank. This was sold to the same dealership for R495 000 in April 2015. The book value at the time was R308 000, a R187 000 difference.
- In April 2015, Phahlane bought a VW Amarok which the same dealership credited to another dealership for R362 963 and later R132 000.
"The effect of the sale of the Nissan Navara to the dealership led to Phahlane receiving an undue benefit of approximately R187 000," Mahlangu said.
- In December 2015, a Toyota Hilux 4x4 single cab bakkie was purchased for R377 360.
- In February 2016, a VW Polo was registered in the name of Phahlane's wife for R230 681 and was picked up by an employee of the same dealership.
This employee said that the Toyota Hilux and the Polo were given to Phahlane as a sponsorship, but Mahlangu said that the sponsorship wasn't pointed out by Phahlane in his founding affidavit or in his official disclosures.
The investigation into the Sable Hills house allegedly revealed:
- Phahlane acquired the land in April 2010 for R850 000, with a cash deposit of R250 000, and he obtained a bond of R595 000.
- His bank statements show the proceeds from the sale of his last home totalled R513 994, which was paid into his account in September 2010. It is unknown where the R255 000 deposit came from, Mahlangu said.
- In 2010/11, Phahlane paid R157 000 into his bond account when he was only required to pay R47 000.
- In 2011/2012, he paid R143 000 into the bond account when he was only required to pay R36 000.
- During this period he built the house and the only visible payment into the bond account was R200 000.
- In 2013/2014, Phahlane's bond repayments, pursuant to an increase in the bond amount was R128 000. He paid R369 000.
- In 2014/2015 he was required to pay R111 000, but paid R402 000.
- In 2015/2016, Phahlane was required to pay R73 000 and he paid R330 000.
- Between March and December 2016, Phahlane was required to make payments amounting to R51 000 and he paid R244 000.
These payments, Mahlangu said, need to be considered with all the cash payments he made to contractors.
"The aforementioned information reveals dubious transactions in Phahlane's financial affairs. The investigation reveals that Phahlane and his wife were able to make additional payments of approximately R2m into their bond account in the last five years."
Mahlangu said that Phahlane acquired a bond of R2.2m, but he allegedly never used this money towards the cost of building the house.
"He only accessed R1.1m between March and July 2012 after the house was almost finished and this was used for finishes and trimmings," the investigator said.
Phahlane's lawyer Piet du Plessis, on Radio 702 on Friday morning, denied all the allegations against his client.