Phiyega reveals delays in firearms system investigation

| Daneel Knoetze
National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega. Photo by Daneel Knoetze.

Police commissioner Riah Phiyega commits to completing the criminal investigation into the botched SAPS Firearms Control System (FCS) by February next year. Yet, the slow pace of the investigation to date is evidenced by several details.

In answer to a question at a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee Meeting by Freedom Front Plus MP Pieter Groenewald on 21 October, Phiyega wrote earlier this week, “Only a fraction of the money was spent on the development of the system.” She further wrote, “The majority of the funds were spent on servers, computers, scanners, software, project management and an Enterprise licence.”

The contract has been cancelled and a criminal investigation, headed up by the Hawks, has been underway since August 2012. In recent weeks, Parliament’s police portfolio committee has lobbied Phiyega to account for the lengthy delay in completing the investigation.

Phiyega wrote that the investigation was 80% complete. Thirty “witnesses” have provided affidavits to investigators and the enquiry consists of 50 lever arch files filled with evidence.

But, she also wrote that investigators are yet to not obtain the crucial report compiled in 2007 by Henderson Solutions. This report investigated the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) and found evidence of corruption, conflicting interests, duplicate payments to suppliers and that multiple suppliers to SITA shared the same bank account and contact details.

SITA is a company in charge of coordinating the state’s IT resources. It’s aim, according to SITA’s website, is to “achieve cost savings through scale, increase delivery capabilities and enhance interoperability”.

GroundUp has not seen the Henderson report findings, but in 2009 ITWeb reported that senior police officers were implicated within it, one of whom was involved in transactions with companies he had vested financial interests in. The article confirms that the Hawks have been attempting to access the report and had been investigating senior police officers’ links to SITA corruption for about three years before the Waymark investigation was launched.

Phiyega said that the report still has not been handed over by SITA. It needs to be studied for evidence relating to the Waymark contract.

In October, GroundUp exposed the details of the contract between SAPS and Waymark, including sky-rocketing costs and rolling back of deadlines for a system that was never handed over to the police. This, at a time when public and parliamentary concern over the shambolic state of the Central Firearms Registry was coming into focus.

Phiyega reports that forensic accountants were only contracted by investigators two years after the start of the investigation in August 2012. Yet, she said that the investigation would be completed by February 2015.

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TOPICS:  Corruption Crime Government

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