Wondering why Cele is gunning for McBride? Read on
There's a hair-curling list of allegations, all of which the Ipid chief firmly denies
A slew of abuse of power allegations made by a senior Ipid investigator against his boss Robert McBride form the basis of Police Minister Bheki Cele’s call to parliament this week to investigate McBride.
Cedrick Nkabinde, a principal investigator of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid), wrote to Cele in April complaining about McBride’s alleged unethical conduct. He claims it was driven by McBride’s desire to become the national police commissioner and to usurp the powers of the entire security cluster of the state.
In the letter, sent to parliament by Cele earlier this month, Nkabinde, who was also a member of a specialist task team established to investigate corruption allegations against then acting national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane, lists a “number of ongoing unethical conduct” committed by a task team headed by McBride.
Allowing a private person, Paul O’Sullivan, to spearhead Ipid investigations together with his assistant Sarah Jane Trent as well as a representative from Afriforum;
Divulging official and confidential information to O'Sullivan and Trent;
Leaking of information to the media;
Conducting investigations through the media in order to deliberately tarnish the images of specific individuals;
Allowing the obtaining of evidence unlawfully;
Abuse of authority by targeting specific individuals without any valid complaint for ulterior motives;
Unlawfully giving instructions not to investigate a specific case for personal gain;
Misrepresentation and abuse of authority to have member of the DPCI seconded full time in the Ipid task team for ulterior motives; and
Monitoring and interception of cellular communication and the onward unlawful transmission of same.
Nkabinde also claims that O’Sullivan, whom he says was believed to a complainant in the Phahlane matter, was allowed to lead the investigation, to access and use the Ipid letterhead to pursue witnesses and further draft statements for witnesses. McBride gave “clear instructions” that all official information obtained be given to O’Sullivan first and that Ipid would apply for access into Phahlane’s cellphones and bank accounts and that, after getting the data, the directorate would give it to O’Sullivan for analysis.
Nkabinde also claimed in his letter that the investigation into Phahlane could not be seen to be objective or independent because McBride had given an instruction to damage Phahlane’s reputation in order for him not to be confirmed as a permanent national commissioner.“It was a known fact that Mr Robert McBride also wanted to become the national commissioner and he was telling some members of the task team that he was considered for this position.”
Nkabinde also details a meeting allegedly attended by McBride among others at O’Sullivan’s home where a plot to bring Phahlane down was discussed. “This meeting sought to plot how to usurp power of the entire security cluster such as the NPA, crime intelligence, SSA and DPCI. Specific individuals were identified from the above-mentioned departments to be targeted, the purpose of which was their removal from same positions. Mr Robert McBride gave assurance that Ipid will go after them and O’Sullivan will be a spy on all of them,” wrote Nkabinde.
Nkabinde also claimed that McBride’s focus turned to Lesetja Mothiba when he was appointed to replace Phahlane as acting national police commissioner. “The plan was to ensure that false charges were laid against him because the appointment of the permanent national commissioner was imminent.” He claimed that false charges were opened against Mothiba at McBride’s instruction.
When Khehla Sitole was appointed national police commissioner, McBride was not happy and “made it clear that General Sitole must be pushed out and be targeted”, according to Nkabinde.
He also accuses McBride of being behind the leaking to the media of information and video footage of police and Ipid officials’ meetings.
Nkabinde was put on precautionary suspension a month after he wrote the letter for allegedly leaking information to external people or media, compromising Ipid investigations, bringing Ipid’s name into disrepute and prejudicing the administration, discipline or efficiency of a department, office or institution of state.
McBride has welcomed Cele’s referral of the letter to parliament. “We presume that these allegations are the same ones made by one of our investigators, Cedrick Nkabinde, who was offered a senior post by the SAPS in return for falsely implicating the Head of Investigations, Mr Matthews Sesoko, task team leader Innocent Khuba and Ipid executive director, Robert McBride in wrongdoing,” said Ipid spokesperson Moses Dlamini through a press statement.The statement also reveals that McBride had in fact met with Cele on two occasions and brought up the allegations made by Nkabinde against him, Khuba and Sesoko and indicated that all the investigators in the task team had refuted Nkabinde’s allegations as false. “I was never asked to respond to any of the allegations or to give my side of the story,” McBride is quoted as saying in the press statement.
“I have on numerous occasions brought to the attention of the PCP [portfolio committee] and the minister, various acts of misconduct and criminality by senior police officers. It is trite that no inquiry into them has been held. Nonetheless, I will co-operate fully with any inquiry.
“I have stated before that these allegations are nothing more than an attempt to shield senior police officers from investigation and to scupper such investigations. The Ipid has documents and recordings to refute any such allegations,” reads the statements.
“In May 2018 the Ipid issued a statement confirming that two of its investigators had been offered senior positions of brigadier by the SAPS, in return for implicating McBride and other Ipid investigators in wrongdoing. This information was also presented to both the police committee and the Standing Committee on Public Accounts earlier in the year. The Ipid has since obtained recordings to confirm these offers.”“We will not be intimidated into stopping our investigations against the 10 SAPS generals, which is the real motive behind the actions of our suspects. We will release more information in due course. It is a matter of public record that the Ipid’s investigations have uncovered corruption running into hundreds of millions in the SAPS and every day we uncover more. We expect that there will be push back against us”, said McBride.
O’Sullivan also dismissed Nkabinde’s allegations as “a load of rubbish”.
“Everything that this person has alleged in there is completely false. It’s completely dishonest. He obviously has his own agenda,” he told Times Select.
O’Sullivan said he was surprised the matter was referred to parliament because he had written to Cele and told him the allegations were false.
O’Sullivan said when he wrote to Cele about the allegations, they had concluded that the allegations were false, but now he thinks the minister needs to consider his own position.
Police committee chairperson Francois Beukman told Times Select he had not seen Cele’s letter and that, when MPs are back in Parliament next month, the committee would study the letter and decide on the way forward...