Pretoria – National police commissioner General Khehla Sitole has warned members of the SAPS to steer clear of corruption and criminality.
Sitole was speaking before the court appearance of 42 accused, including high-ranking members of the SAPS, for alleged fraud, among other charges.
They will appear in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court to face charges of fraud, money laundering, corruption and theft in relation to the manipulation of procurement documents which cost the SAPS R85million.
The first group of 36 accused appeared in court, followed by four captains from Silverton police station.
Six more accused appeared in court yesterday and were released on R5000 bail each.
They are Colonel Lawrence Thahane, Pragalathan Gouden, Anna Catharina du Preez, Lieutenant-Colonel Tshepo Mashego as well as father and son, Volan Prithviraj and Kumarasen Prithviraj.
The group of 42 includes police officials, retired captains and administration clerks stationed at the supply chain post at Silverton, as well as suppliers.
They were alleged to have manipulated the procurement documents for the branding of police vehicles to the tune of R56m as well as quoting SAPS tenders valued at R29m in total.
The alleged incidents, according to the Investigative Directorate, happened more than 200 times between April 2016 and 2019.
They involved quotations for contracts for the installation of palisades fencing, repair of state motor vehicles, gardening services, servicing of forklifts and painting services.
The arrests form part of the National Prosecuting Authority’s three-year investigations into corruption, which in June witnessed the arrests of 16 senior members of the SAPS.
After the first group appeared in court, Sitole said: “The arrest of our own must send a stern warning to all law enforcement officers to steer clear of criminality and corruption at all times.”
He added that the latest arrests were indicative of the police’s commitment to fighting corruption within their own ranks.
Meanwhile, Investigative Directorate head advocate Hermione Cronje said they were also pleased with the dismissal of the application brought in the Labour Court by seven of the accused.